Throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency, visitation to NJ long-term care facilities has been severely restricted. The NJ Department of Health has issued guidance that allows LTC residents to have limited visitation in very specific circumstances. In addition, the NJ DOH has issued visitation guidance for the holiday season. General visitation and testing guidance was issued on October 20, 2020. (See page 22.) Holiday visitation guidance was issued on November 16, 2020. If If you have questions or concerns about visiting long-term care facilities, contact the NJ LTCO.
The New Jersey Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman
The New Jersey Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman (LTCO) is a resident-focused advocacy organization. The primary function of the LTCO is to advocate for residents of long-term care facilities who are over age 60 by investigating and resolving complaints made by or on behalf of those residents.
The LTCO is aided in its mission by a cadre of highly-trained Volunteer Advocates who are assigned to nursing facilities throughout the state. These volunteers are an extension of the Office and are trained to observe the quality of services provided by long-term care communities and advocate for long-term care residents' rights.
The LTCO also oversees the operation of several Regional Ethics Committees that provide assistance to consumers, families and long-term care facilities when confronted with difficult medical decisions in a long-term care environment.
Finally, the LTCO has partnered with the NJ Department of Human Services to promote the state's federally-funded Money Follows the Person program, called I Choose Home NJ (ICHNJ). Under ICHNJ, assistance is provided to nursing home residents of any age who wish to transition back to the community with the services and supports they need.
Regional Ethics Committees: Difficult Decisions and Ethical Guidance
As individuals grow older and struggle with advanced illness and frailty, they, their families and their care providers will likely be faced with difficult decisions about their care and treatment. Decisions can include whether to provide or remove particular treatments. The role of the Ombudsman in these situations is to ensure that decision-making is resident-focused and consistent with ethical and legal standards.
One of the ways this is achieved is through Regional Ethics Committees, which provide education, conflict resolution and ethical guidance to facilities, families and consumers when difficult decisions need to be made.
For more information about the LTCO Regional Ethics Committees call the LTCO intake line at 1-877-582-6995 or call the REC Program at 609-826-5034.
I Choose Home NJ: Exploring Community-Based Options
I Choose Home NJ (also known as Money Follows the Person) is a federal and state program with two main goals: to move people out of nursing homes and developmental centers back into the community and to
re-invest Medicaid dollars used for nursing home care back into home- and community-based services.
Residents of nursing homes and developmental centers who are eligible for Medicaid and have been living in a
long-term care setting for more than 90 days may be able to move to an independent community setting with appropriate supports and services.
ICHNJ is working to spread the message that “A Nursing Home May Not Be the Only Option.” If you are interested in learning more, please call ICHNJ at 1-855-466-3005 or visit the ICHNJ website at www.ichoosehome.nj.gov
Volunteer Advocates Help Safeguard Residents of Nursing Homes
The New Jersey Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman is assisted in its advocacy work by a cadre of highly trained volunteer advocates who are assigned to nursing homes throughout New Jersey.
These Volunteer Advocates receive 32 hours of intensive training and are asked to spend at least four hours a week visiting residents in their assigned nursing home. Volunteer Advocates visit residents, help to resolve complaints and disputes and act as a voice for those vulnerable elderly residents who cannot advocate for themselves.
Training sessions are ongoing and Volunteer Advocates are ALWAYs needed! If you are interested in having a direct and meaningful impact on the lives of elderly citizens living in nursing homes, please call the LTCO Volunteer Advocate Program at 609-826-5053 or email at email@example.com
If you are a resident of a nursing home, you have the right to speak to the Volunteer Advocate assigned to your facility. Just ask staff to direct you to that person. If there is no Volunteer Advocate assigned to your facility, feel free to call the LTCO intake line at 1-877-582-6995.
Mandatory Reporting Of Adult Abuse (P.L. 1983 -Ch43)
Anyone can make a confidential report to the Ombudsman, but under New Jersey law, certain individuals are legally mandated to report known or suspected instances of abuse, exploitation, crime and serious bodily injury of residents age 60 or older, living in long-term care communities. Any caretaker, social worker, physician, registered or licensed practical nurse, managed care representative, staff or other professional, who, as a result of information obtained in the course of his/her employment, has reasonable cause to suspect or believe that an elderly long-term care resident is being or has been abused, exploited or a victim of a crime or serious bodily injury, shall report such information. (N.J.S.A. 52:27G-7.1)
|NJ Long-Term Care Ombudsman
P.O. Box 852
Trenton, NJ 08625-0852