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Advocates were berated, bullied when they tried to investigate alleged nursing home abuse, says lawsuit

Susan K. Livio, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Ted Sherman, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

March 10, 2022

Disability Rights has been sending staff periodically to Woodland since Easter weekend in April 2020, after police discovered a makeshift morgue overflowing with the bodies of residents who had died from COVID-19, according to the lawsuit, filed jointly by the Dann Law Firm in North Brunswick.

The nonprofit agency renewed its efforts after the Health Department’s recent inspection revealed “detailed instances of abuse and neglect.” The state found no efforts had been made to resuscitate or even call 911 for a 55-year-old resident whose heart stopped on New Year’s Day. One aide left a resident with bed sores to lie in feces overnight, and faced no discipline, according to the inspection report obtained by NJ Advance Media.

Orlowski said her team believes many residents on the third floor do not require nursing home care but wound up there because there is a shortage of supervised apartments or other community housing options for people with mental illness and developmental disabilities. She has asked the Murphy administration to intervene while Disability Rights conducts its investigation.

DannLaw asks federal court to order officials of Woodland Behavioral Health to stop interfering with Disability Rights New Jersey’s investigation of abuse and neglect at troubled facility
Judge grants disability advocates access to NJ nursing home residents to investigate abuse, neglect