New Jersey's Nursing Home Bill of Rights

New Jersey has codified the rights of nursing home residents which can be found at N.J.S.A. 30: 13-5.  Upon admission, the nursing home administrator is required to give each resident or his/her guardian, a written notice of this bill of rights. The administrator must also post this notice in a conspicuous, public place in the nursing home. N.J.S.A. 30: 13-7.

Some of the highlights of this bill of rights are:

  • The right to wear one’s own clothing;
  • The right to retain personal property in one’s own immediate living quarters;
  • The right to receive and send unopened correspondence and unaccompanied access to use of a telephone during reasonable hours and the right to have a private telephone at the resident’s expense;
  • The right to retain the services of one’s own personal physician;
  • The right to have visitation with any persons at any reasonable hour;
  • The right to a safe and decent living environment and considerate and respectful care that recognizes the dignity and individuality of the resident;
  • The right to confidentiality and privacy concerning ones’s medical condition and treatment;
  • The right to receive, upon request food that meets the resident’s religious dietary requirements.

The New Jersey Bill of Rights provides for a direct cause of action for violations of the resident’s rights. Either the resident or his/her guardian can bring the action.  New Jersey does not permit lawsuits by loved ones (children, grandchildren etc.) to recover for their damages or emotional distress.