To ensure residents of long-term care facilities receive the highest quality of care, the Governor signed bipartisan legislation (A-4884) into law Monday requiring the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman to develop an long-term care training program to be completed by certain employees and volunteers associated with long-term care facilities in the ombudsman’s office and the Department of Health.
The program will provide training to the ombudsman’s investigative and advocacy staff, volunteer advocates in the ombudsman’s office, and long-term care facility surveyors, inspectors, and complaint investigators from the Department of Health. The training will include information on the rights of long-term care residents; fostering choice and independence among residents; identifying and reporting abuse, neglect, or exploitation of residents; long-term care facility ownership; federal guidelines, laws and regulations pertaining to long-term care centers; and any issues, trends, or policies that impact the rights of long-term care residents.
Subject to the availability of staff and funding, the training may also be offered to residents of long-term care facilities, their family members, advocacy organizations, government agencies and long-term care facility employees.
Sponsors of the bill, Assembly Democrats Angela McKnight (D-Hudson), James Kennedy (D-Middlesex, Somerset, Union) and Raj Mukherji (D-Hudson), and Assembly Republican DiAnne Gove (D-Atlantic, Burlington, Ocean) released the following joint statement:
“Implementing meaningful change often begins with education and awareness. To bring about much-needed reforms in our long-term care facilities, we must empower the people on the front lines, from employees to advocates. With comprehensive training, they will be able to more easily identify and respond to troubling situations and ensure long-term care residents receive the highest quality of care. We must do all we can to protect and advocate for our most vulnerable.”
The act takes effect immediately.