• Jul
    Posted in:
    Posted by: Jarve Kaplan Granato Starr

    Nursing Home Negligence: What is Peggy’s Law?

    Making the decision to place a loved one into the care of a nursing facility can be wrenching. Family members often spend countless sleepless nights and exhaust all resources to try to avoid taking the challenging step, and this has only been made more difficult by constant news stories detailing nursing home negligence and abuse. One of the more heartbreaking stories to be broadcast in the state of New Jersey ended up bringing a positive change to the protections offered to nursing home and long-term care facility residents.  That story was the tale of what happened to Peggy Marzolla, and the end result was a bill referred to as Peggy’s Law.

    Peggy’s Law was passed in August of 2017. It is named for a 93-year-old woman who died in 2010 after suffering numerous injuries in a nursing home facility. Though the facility’s staff denied responsibility for Peggy’s broken cheekbones, broken wrist, and broken eye socket, and blamed it on a fall, her daughter, Maureen Persi, found their explanation hard to believe. When Ms. Persi sought help, she was frustrated and appalled at the lack of protections available for those who are in long-term care, and lobbied for better protections against nursing home negligence and abuse.

    The end result is a law that makes it a requirement for anybody working at a state-regulated facility caring for senior citizens to act promptly and definitively when they suspect abuse, exploitation or criminal harm being imposed on any residents. They have to contact the police within 24 hours of any incident that they witness, and if an injury is involved then the contact must occur within two hours.  This represents a significant change over the previous requirement, which was limited to contacting the New Jersey Office of the Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly. Under Peggy’s Law, the ombudsman’s office still needs to be called, but now that hotline is manned round the clock instead of the previous Monday to Friday during business hours.

    The goal of Peggy’s Law was to introduce an additional level of safety for those who are most vulnerable and to provide their family members with a layer of confidence that, should their loved one be a victim, action will be taken, even when they aren’t there.

    If you have a loved one residing in a nursing home or long-term care facility and you have questions about their safety, we can help. Contact us today to set up a consultation.

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