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Knee Pain Treatment & Specialist

In Menlo Park, NJ

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Advanced Knee Pain Treatment in Menlo Park, NJ

Are you experiencing knee pain symptoms such as popping, clicking, bone-on-bone grinding, achiness, or sharp stabs? You're not alone in this journey. Knee pain affects nearly 25% of adults in the United States, causing discomfort, swelling, and chronic pain that can hinder everyday activities like childcare, walking, and exercise. Shockingly, recent statistics from The American Academy of Family Physicians indicate a 65% increase in diagnosed knee pain cases.

In a world where invasive surgeries and prescription painkillers are often the default solutions, it's crucial to explore the effective non-invasive options that are available. These alternative treatments provide relief without the associated risks of surgery.

Today, many doctors still recommend invasive surgeries and prescription painkillers rather than exploring non-invasive options. While those treatments are needed in some circumstances, there are alternative treatments available that can help you overcome knee pain without needing to go under the knife.

NJ Sports Spine and Wellness' advanced knee pain treatment in Menlo Park, NJ gives men and women suffering from knee pain hope. Instead of relying on surgery, our team of doctors and physical therapists use non-invasive, highly effective treatments to help heal prevalent conditions such as:

Service Areas

Arthritis

Soft tissue injury

ACL tears

MCL tears

Patella dislocation

Misalignment of the kneecap

Patella tendonitis

Jumper's knee

Osgood Schlatter's Disease

Knee

With the right treatment,

many people can reduce their pain and improve their function, allowing them to return to normal daily activities. Plus, by taking preventative measures and seeking prompt care from our team, it's possible to reduce your risk of developing chronic knee pain and other painful knee conditions. If you've been searching for a non-invasive way to eliminate knee pain and get back to an active life, your journey to recovery starts here.

Let's take a closer look at some of the knee pain treatments available at NJ Sports Spine and Wellness, which all serve as great alternatives to knee replacement surgery.

Physical Therapy:

Optimizing Musculoskeletal Health with Conservative Care

The field of Physical Therapy (PT) aims to rehabilitate individuals who have experienced injury, illness, or disability by restoring their mobility and function. Physical therapists cater to patients of various ages and capabilities, ranging from young athletes to senior citizens, in order to help them surpass physical limitations and improve their standard of living with advanced knee pain treatment in Menlo Park, NJ.

At NJ Sports Spine and Wellness, our physical therapy program was founded on a patient-centric philosophy, where physical therapists work closely with patients to get a deep understanding of their goals, preferences, and capabilities. In doing so, they can create a tailor-made treatment strategy to address their unique knee pain with the goal of avoiding a knee replacement. Treatment may involve exercises that are therapeutic in nature and can include:

  • Joint mobilizations
  • Soft tissue mobilization using cupping
  • Graston technique
  • Soft tissue massage
  • Stretching of associated muscle groups

Joint Mobilization for Knee Pain

This unique knee pain solution involves physical therapists using skilled manual therapy techniques to help improve your joint range of motion while simultaneously reducing your knee pain.

During joint mobilization, a physical therapist applies targeted pressures or forces to a joint in specific directions to improve its mobility. The intensity of the force applied can vary, and it is adjusted based on the patient's comfort level. Joint mobilization is generally pain-free.

STM

Soft Tissue Mobilization (STM)

Soft Tissue Mobilization is a manual therapy technique that involves stretching and applying deep pressure to rigid muscle tissue. This helps to relax muscle tension and move fluids that are trapped in the tissues that cause pain and inflammation. This effective form of physical therapy is often used as an advanced knee pain treatment in Menlo Park, NJ for treating knee strains, knee sprains, knee pain, and more.

Graston

The Graston Technique

The Graston Technique involves the use of handheld instruments to identify and break up scar tissue through specialized massage. During a Graston Technique session, physical therapists use convex and concave tools for cross-friction massage, which involves rubbing or brushing against the grain of the scar tissue. This process re-introduces small amounts of trauma to the affected area. In some cases, this process temporarily causes inflammation, which can actually boost the amount and rate of blood flow in the knee. This process helps initiate and promote the healing process so you can get back to a normal life.

Massage

Soft Tissue Massage

Soft tissue massage is a less intense form of massage than it's deep-tissue relative. Instead of focusing on slow and firm strokes to reach the deep layers of muscles and tissues, this massage technique uses a variety of pressures, depths, and durations. Soft tissue massage is helpful in alleviating different types of knee aches, pains, and injuries. Soft tissue massages can also help reduce stress, improve circulation, and promote relaxation.

Advanced Mechanics and Technology:

The Future of Knee Pain Therapy

While knee pain is a common symptom that affects millions of Americans every year, no two cases of knee pain are ever exactly alike. Some types of knee injuries require non-traditional solutions. At New Jersey Sports Spine and Wellness, we offer a range of treatments that leverage mechanics and technology to help patients recover from injuries while treating inflammation and pain as well as resolve the root cause of the pain.

AlterAlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill

The AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill is equipped with NASA Differential Air Pressure (DAP) technology, which is a precise air calibration system that uses the user's actual body weight to enhance rehabilitation and training. By utilizing a pressurized air chamber, the AlterG allows patients and athletes to move without any pain or restrictions.

This advanced knee pain treatment in Menlo Park, NJ uniformly reduces gravitational load and body weight up to 80% in precise 1% increments. The results can be incredible, with patients reporting benefits such as:

  • Restoring and building of knee strength
  • Restored range of motion in the knee
  • Better balance
  • Improved knee function
  • More

What Makes the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill So Effective?

The AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill can monitor various metrics such as speed, gait pattern, stride length, and weight distribution. With real-time feedback and video monitoring, your rehabilitation team can promptly and accurately identify issues and pain points or monitor your progress throughout your knee pain rehabilitation journey.

One of the key benefits of this cutting-edge equipment is that it replicates natural walking and movement patterns without the artificial feel that hydrotherapy or harnesses create. This makes it an excellent choice for faster recovery after knee injuries or surgeries, as it allows for early mobilization while also preserving strength. Furthermore, it is ideal for sports recovery as athletes can use it for physical conditioning maintenance.

Advanced Knee Pain Treatment Menlo Park, NJ
Advanced Knee Pain Treatment Menlo Park, NJ

Low-Level Laser Therapy

Our advanced treatment modalities for knee pain include laser therapy, which harnesses the revolutionary power of light through photobiomodulation (PBM). LiteCureâ„¢ low-level laser therapy is available for acute and chronic types of knee pain and can be hugely beneficial when coupled with physical therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic care, and sports recovery care.

Understanding Photobiomodulation (PBM)

PBM is a medical treatment that harnesses the power of light to stimulate the body's natural healing abilities. The photons from the light penetrate deep into the tissue and interact with mitochondria, which results in a boost in energy production. This interaction sets off a biological chain reaction that increases cellular metabolism. Utilizing low-level light therapy has been shown to:

  • Alleviate knee pain
  • Speed up tissue healing
  • Promote overall health and wellness
  • Expedite knee pain injury recovery
Advanced Knee Pain Treatment Menlo Park, NJ

Exclusive Access to

Pain Management Professionals

At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, we know that every patient requires a personalized approach to chronic knee pain and condition management. Sometimes, our patients need access to pain management professionals, who can offer relief in conjunction with physical therapy and other solutions like low-level laser therapy.

Two of the most common services we offer for pain management includes acupuncture which can assist in avoiding knee replacement surgery.

Acupuncture is a common treatment for knee pain that involves inserting thin needles into specific points in your knee. This ancient Chinese medicine has gained popularity in Western culture due to its effectiveness in treating various conditions with minimal side effects.

Acupuncture works by stimulating the nervous system to release various biochemicals, including endorphins and other neurotransmitters. The release of these chemicals helps to reduce inflammation, decrease pain perception, and improve overall blood circulation.

Multiple studies have shown that acupuncture can be effective in treating knee pain caused by a variety of conditions, including osteoarthritis and injuries related to physical activity like running. Acupuncture can also help reduce inflammation, improve muscle function, and decrease pain perception, making it a viable treatment on its own or as an addition to traditional treatment methods like physical therapy.

When undergoing acupuncture, a professional acupuncturist will insert thin needles into specific acupoints on the skin. These needles are left in place for roughly 20 to 30 minutes and may be gently stimulated for an enhanced effect. Patients might experience a slight tingle or warmth at the needle insertion site, but overall, acupuncture is considered a painless procedure.

Acupuncture has been a trusted and effective treatment option for thousands of years. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes acupuncture as a legitimate form of healthcare, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has even funded research studies to explore its efficacy for a range of medical conditions. To learn more about acupuncture for knee pain, contact NJSSW today.

Advanced Knee Pain Treatment Menlo Park, NJ

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a common treatment for knee pain that involves inserting thin needles into specific points in your knee. This ancient Chinese medicine has gained popularity in Western culture due to its effectiveness in treating various conditions with minimal side effects.

Acupuncture works by stimulating the nervous system to release various biochemicals, including endorphins and other neurotransmitters. The release of these chemicals helps to reduce inflammation, decrease pain perception, and improve overall blood circulation.

Multiple studies have shown that acupuncture can be effective in treating knee pain caused by a variety of conditions, including osteoarthritis and injuries related to physical activity like running. Acupuncture can also help reduce inflammation, improve muscle function, and decrease pain perception, making it a viable treatment on its own or as an addition to traditional treatment methods like physical therapy.

Advanced Knee Pain Treatment Menlo Park, NJ

What Happens During Acupuncture Therapy for Knee Pain?

When undergoing acupuncture, a professional acupuncturist will insert thin needles into specific acupoints on the skin. These needles are left in place for roughly 20 to 30 minutes and may be gently stimulated for an enhanced effect. Patients might experience a slight tingle or warmth at the needle insertion site, but overall, acupuncture is considered a painless procedure.

Advanced Knee Pain Treatment Menlo Park, NJ

Is Acupuncture Actually Effective for Knee Pain?

Acupuncture has been a trusted and effective treatment option for thousands of years. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes acupuncture as a legitimate form of healthcare, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has even funded research studies to explore its efficacy for a range of medical conditions. To learn more about acupuncture for knee pain, contact NJSSW today.

Avoid Knee Replacements with Advanced Knee Pain Treatment in Menlo Park, NJ

Advanced Knee Pain Treatment Menlo Park, NJ

When it comes to knee pain therapies and treatments, getting a knee replacement should be last on your list. Why put your body through such trauma if you haven't tried other non-invasive treatment options? Whether you're an athlete trying to work through a knee injury or you're over 65 and are dealing with osteoarthritis, NJ Sports Spine and Wellness can help.

It all starts with an introductory consultation at our office in Matawan or Marlboro. During your first visit, we'll talk to you about your knee pain symptoms, the goals you have in mind, and the advanced knee pain treatments available to you at our practice. From there, it's only a matter of time before you get back to a healthy, active lifestyle.

Every day you wait can worsen your knee condition. Contact us today and let our team help get you on the road to recovery and life with painful knees.

Latest News in Menlo Park, NJ

Three Trendy New Shops at Menlo Park Mall in Edison, NJ for 2023

Menlo Park Mall has announced the opening of two great new stores and one on the way next month.Warby Parker is a trendy, high quality sun and prescription glasses retailer (contact lenses too). Just because its high quality doesn't mean it has to be expensive. Warby Parker boasts affordable prices.You won't have to wait long to visit. It should be opening in the mall in March....

Menlo Park Mall has announced the opening of two great new stores and one on the way next month.

Warby Parker is a trendy, high quality sun and prescription glasses retailer (contact lenses too). Just because its high quality doesn't mean it has to be expensive. Warby Parker boasts affordable prices.

You won't have to wait long to visit. It should be opening in the mall in March.

Warby Parker is also opening at The Promenade in Marlton. There's another location in Palmer Square in downtown Princeton as well.

You can check out the Warby Parker Spring 2023 collection here. I like it.

Dynamite is a Canada-based clothing shop for women. You can find outfits for all occasions from office attire to weekend fun clothes to chillin' at home wear. I like what I've seen.

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You can visit Dynamite on the first floor of Menlo Park Mall (it opened in Early January). This is only the second New Jersey Dynamite location. There's also a Dynamite store in Cherry Hill Mall on Route 38.

Soma is located near Nordstrom on the first level of Menlo Park Mall. Oh, you'll love this shop. It lets you be comfortable and still feel beautiful. You don't have to hang out in old sweats.

Check it out....everything is so cute.

All of the loungewear is so soft and fashionable. They also have lingerie and beauty products. Don't miss this great new boutique.

If you're anything like me, you love to shop, so head to Menlo Park Mall and experience its new shops.

Menlo Park Mall is in Edison, NJ.

The Highest Paying Careers In 2023

Photo credit: Unsplash

Head Of Security

There is big money in protection. If you guard the most important people or top-shelf secrets you may be in danger but your bank account is not. This job can be in the mid 200K.

Photo credit: Unsplash

President /Vice President/General Manager

If you run the show you get the big bucks. The average range is 150K-200+ depending on the company.

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Exec VP of Sales

Executive VP of Sales is pretty impressive sounding and it brings home the bacon too. This one is commission based and varies but the sky is the limit.

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Global Vice President of Sales

If you can close a deal and speak another language you are going to be in high demand. If you can sell without the limitations of boarders you are going to rule the world! This salary range can be up to half a million dollars a year.

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CEO

I'm be the first to admit that being a CEO means different things at different companies. If it is a start up and not generating anything yet is only sounds impressive. If you are the CEO of a healthy global conglomerate you are swimming in cash. This range is too big to estimate but you should strive to be one.

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Senior VP Marketing

I'm seeing a real trend of sales and marketing being the highest-paying jobs across the board. If you look on any job networking site, these are always some of the biggest jobs. You have to start with average pay but man do you make up for it as you climb that ladder.

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VP of Products and Marketing

Marketing products is a skill that every company needs. Think about it, everyone business is marketing something. This is a safe bet for getting a steady and high-end pay day!

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Revenue Officer IRS

If you are able to get the money the government is owed, you are going to be rich yourself. There is big money her and it is a job that most people never think of perusing. Job security is certain because the government is not going anywhere.

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Pharma Sales Rep

Again, the sky is the limit but this career can make you a millionaire pretty darn fast. Big pharma is big money.

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YouTuber/Social Media Star

This may seem like a joke but just look at Mr. Beast giving away houses! If you have great ideas, a personality and aren't camera shy this is how you make the most money! It's crazy, everyone has a phone but do you have the guts to use it?

Top 5 Unique Restaurants In NJ You'd Be Crazy To Skip Over

According to Only In Your State, these are New Jersey's most unique, and wacky restaurants you don't want to pass over.

Credit: Google Maps

1. Prospectors Grill And Saloon

Want a taste of Texas right here in the Garden State? Prospectors has you covered. They have live country music, a larger-than-life salad bar, and huge portions.

Credit: Google Maps

It's Also A Good Place To Catch A Game

Billed as the best country restaurant in the Northeast, you can also catch your favorite team each week.

Prospectors Grill And Saloon

3050 NJ-38, Mt Laurel Township, NJ

Credit: Google Maps

2. Destination Dogs

Located in the heart of New Brunswick, Destination Dogs offers some of the most unique takes on hot dogs around.

Photo by Daniel Lloyd Blunk-Fernández on Unsplash

Seriously Unique Hot Dogs

Destination Dogs is known for making their hot dogs one of a kind. From hot dogs featuring poutine, Mexican street corn, and duck sauce, it's an unforgettable dining experience!

Destination Dogs

101 Paterson St, New Brunswick, NJ

Credit: Google Maps

3. Magic Grill

Only In Your State says that Magic Grill is one of the last places in New Jersey you can get Mongolian BBQ, which is an experience in and of itself!

Photo by Ulysse Pointcheval on Unsplash

What Is Mongolian BBQ?

It's buffet style, but here's the catch; the food isn't cooked yet. You pick out what you want to eat, hand it to the chef, and it's cooked right in front of you turning into a delicious meal.

Magic Grill

104 North Ave, Garwood, NJ

Credit: Google Maps

4. Mama Rosina's

I've actually written about this place's amazing Italian food in the past, and what makes it truly unique is its location.

Credit: Google Maps

Mama Rosina's Is Inside A Historic NJ Train Station

Not only can you enjoy a good meal, but you can also sit out and watch the trains pass by!

Mama Rosina's

350 E Main St, Bound Brook, NJ

Credit: Google Maps

5. Game Time Bar And Grill

Located in Freehold, what makes Game Time unique isn't so much its selection of tasty flatbreads, burgers, pasta, and steaks but more so its location.

Photo by Carl Raw on Unsplash

It's Located In iPlay America

Dreamhouse Living Tour: The Barbie truck is coming to New Jersey

Your Instagram feed may no longer be swathed in pink, but Barbie movie mania is still rolling on.“Barbie is really misunderstood, but the movie humanized Barbie and helped her become more relatable and tapped people into their inner Barbie joy,” said Urania Chien, co-owner of the Barbie Truck, which is coming to New Jersey soon. “I’m in my 40s, and I felt too old for Barbie. But the movie showed that no one is too old for Barbie. You’re not too old for anything that brings you joy.”...

Your Instagram feed may no longer be swathed in pink, but Barbie movie mania is still rolling on.

“Barbie is really misunderstood, but the movie humanized Barbie and helped her become more relatable and tapped people into their inner Barbie joy,” said Urania Chien, co-owner of the Barbie Truck, which is coming to New Jersey soon. “I’m in my 40s, and I felt too old for Barbie. But the movie showed that no one is too old for Barbie. You’re not too old for anything that brings you joy.”

The Barbie Truck will take its third tour to New Jersey when the truck stops at the Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus at the main entrance near Capital Grille and Pinstripes on Saturday, Sept. 30; the Menlo Park Mall in Edison by the grassy lot near Macy’s on Saturday, Oct. 7; and the Cherry Hill Mall near the food court entrance on Saturday, Oct. 14. It will then continue its pastel journey through the U.S.

The truck will be parked at each location from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. selling exclusive merchandise ranging from $12 to $75, such as lavender denim jackets, plush blankets, baseball caps, necklaces, glass mugs, coasters, thermal bottles and more. Only credit cards will be accepted. Each person who buys over $40 in merchandise will receive a free magnet.

The Dreamhouse Living Tour is in honor of the 60th anniversary of the Barbie Dreamhouse. The truck, which launched in 2019, previously was 1990s throwback-themed and Malibu Barbie-themed.

“This year, many of our Barbie Truck items are homewares or things that people can use everyday,” said Chien, who also owns the Hello Kitty truck. “It’s like having a piece of the Dreamhouse in your house.”

When the Barbie Dreamhouse debuted in 1962, women could not open their own bank accounts and only 0.1% of women were independent homeowners.

“It was so aspirational for people,” said Chien, who, as a child, remembers many parents saving up to purchase a Dreamhouse for their daughters. “Now, we want to build our own Dreamhouses. It doesn’t have to be pink, but whatever your version of the Dreamhouse is, that’s really powerful for people.”

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Some of the truck’s most popular items this season, Chien said, are the plush blanket and the coasters, which fans discovered are the perfect size to be Barbie’s rug inside the Dreamhouse.

You should expect to wait one or two hours in line, Chien said. But the good news, she added, is that you'll be able to meet plenty of Barbie fans and collectors.

“The merch is cool and people love that they can take a piece of Barbie home with them,” Chien said. “But I think people come for the personal connections that they make with other people.”

Things to do:New Jersey Film Festival returns with 19 pictures – and a new twist

Go: Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus at the main entrance near Capital Grille and Pinstripes, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30; the Menlo Park Mall in Edison by the grassy lot near Macy’s, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7; and the Cherry Hill Mall near the food court entrance, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14. shop.mattel.com/pages/barbie-truck-tour.

Jenna Intersimone has been a staff member at the USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey since 2014, after becoming a blogger-turned-reporter following the creation of her award-winning travel blog. To get unlimited access to her stories about food, drink and fun, please subscribe or activate your digital account today. You can also follow her on Instagram at @seejennaeat and on Twitter at @JIntersimone.

Two troubled N.J. veterans homes would see mandatory upgrades under new bill

Two state-run veterans homes that saw a high number of deaths related to COVID-19 would get mandatory upgrades under a new bill advanced in the Legislature’s lower chamber Monday.The bill (A4923) would require the state veterans homes in Menlo Park and Paramus to convert at least one ward each to single occupancy rooms. Those rooms would be required to be equipped with ventilation systems that would prev...

Two state-run veterans homes that saw a high number of deaths related to COVID-19 would get mandatory upgrades under a new bill advanced in the Legislature’s lower chamber Monday.

The bill (A4923) would require the state veterans homes in Menlo Park and Paramus to convert at least one ward each to single occupancy rooms. Those rooms would be required to be equipped with ventilation systems that would prevent the spread of harmful airborne particles, and both homes would need to upgrade their heating and ventilation systems.

Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker (D-Essex), prime sponsor of the bill, said during a hearing of the Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee that the main goal of the legislation is to ensure the upgrades will be funded. The measure calls for federal funds to be allocated to complete the conversions and upgrades, with state funds used if federal funding is not sufficient.

“I know as time goes on, years go on, standards change, and we have to make sure that these two nursing homes get a chance to have the proper opportunity to bring their facilities up to the standard that is required,” said Tucker, the committee’s chair.

COVID-19 devastated the two nursing homes, which saw 200 deaths of residents and staff members and more than 400 infections as the virus initially swept through the state. Since then, a report from state health inspectors reported episodes of improper care and abuse in Menlo Park, the federal government halted admissions to Menlo Park and threatened to cut off funding, and Gov. Phil Murphy announced his administration would outsource management of the Paramus, Menlo Park, and Vineland veterans homes to a private vendor.

The Murphy administration has faced criticism over how it managed COVID-19 outbreaks at veterans homes and nursing homes across the state. According to NorthJersey.com, a November 2021 outbreak in the Menlo Park facility led to 17 deaths and hundreds of infections, while a federal inspection found employees of the Paramus facility allowed COVID-positive residents to mingle with those who were not testing positive.

Robert McNulty of the Vietnam Veterans of America criticized the bill as a knee-jerk reaction to COVID-19, pointing to its exclusion of the nursing home in Vineland and noting that extended construction could close off wings in the homes, limiting how many people can be admitted. Adding an additional wing would be preferred, he said, because that would lead to fewer disruptions for residents.

“We need to do it systemwide across all three homes, and we want to do it in a fashion that we’re not here five years from now still waiting to raise a hammer. There’s no guarantee in this bill that any of that’s going to occur,” said McNulty.

Tucker said the Vineland home isn’t included because it’s in “much better shape than the other two facilities.”

Luddie Austin of the New Jersey Veterans of Foreign Wars said the pandemic exposed problems that veterans were experiencing in the places they call home. Austin praised the bill as a call to action and stressed a sense of urgency in helping the struggling homes.

“They have that right to live comfortably, and by adding these extra expansions in these two homes, and later down the line we see that it’s working, then we build another memorial home in the state of New Jersey,” he said. “But this bill is crucial to help out veterans who are currently living in those two facilities.”

Assemblyman Alex Sauickie (R-Ocean) echoed some of McNulty’s testimony, including his concerns over excluding Vineland and the potential loss of beds.

“We need more beds at these homes. We need more homes in general,” he said.

The bill unanimously advanced, with Sauickie agreeing to vote for it on the floor of the Assembly if language is updated to include more funding. A Senate companion bill was introduced last week in the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee, which does not have a future meeting schedule.

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While others struggled, Vineland's veteran home noted for COVID response

A New Jersey investigative agency issued a scathing report about state-run veterans homes' response to the COVID-19 crisis, noting "an astounding number of deaths in mere weeks" — more than 200 residents and staff members at facilities in Paramus, Menlo Park and Vineland.Vineland, though, fared better in the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation report than its North Jersey counterparts.COVID infections spread later to South Jersey, and with infection rates here "far lower," the r...

A New Jersey investigative agency issued a scathing report about state-run veterans homes' response to the COVID-19 crisis, noting "an astounding number of deaths in mere weeks" — more than 200 residents and staff members at facilities in Paramus, Menlo Park and Vineland.

Vineland, though, fared better in the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation report than its North Jersey counterparts.

COVID infections spread later to South Jersey, and with infection rates here "far lower," the report states, Vineland's veterans home "had a warehouse full of (personal protective) equipment with no shortages," even as the Paramus and Menlo Park facilities struggled with supplying masks, tests and other material to employees fearful of getting sick and bringing the illness home to their own families.

Gloucester CountyDeptford nature preserve needs volunteers to keep educating visitors about sustainability

Communication with patients' loved ones was difficult at Menlo Park and Paramus, where residents had to share a limited number of electronic devices for FaceTime and other communications, and facilities' WiFi access was unreliable, forcing some to rely on hotspots.

Menlo Park and Paramus, built in 1999 and 1986 respectively, were not physically set up to quarantine or isolate sick patients, the report added, and it was challenging to move sick patients through facilities without exposing them to others.

However, "Vineland is a modern facility that starkly contrasts with the other properties," the report states. A 2005 redesign meant the facility has upgraded WiFi. Residents also had communal living areas spread throughout the facility, as well as recreational spaces, a large patio area and other amenities like a bowling alley, movie theater, salon and bank.

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"Some of the building’s features, and given that COVID infection rates were lower in the southern portion of New Jersey and at the Vineland home during the pandemic, enabled it to more easily cohort residents, reduce the spread of the virus and permit residents to continue to engage in activities," the report says.

The New Jersey State Commission of Investigation presented its findings to Gov. Phil Murphy and members of the state Legislature. Among the hardest-hit states early in the 2020 pandemic, New Jersey saw its most vulnerable populations, including the elderly and disabled, devastated, especially as virus raged through group living facilities like nursing homes.

"Three years later, with the public health emergency now over and more than 35,000 New Jerseyans' lives lost to COVID-related causes, the public deserves a full accounting of what led to the extreme devastation inside the veterans homes," the report says.

The state was "wholly unprepared for the devastating virus and the havoc wreak inside the residences," it says, alluding to a federal Department of Justice investigation that found the state failed to keep veterans in its care safe.

"Further, it found ongoing failures by management continue to leave them in peril," the report adds.

The report points to failures including "massive absenteeism" among staff members early in the pandemic, which left residents without basic care; a lack of means to get employees to report to work or to find replacements for them, as staffing agencies refused to fill vacancies due to the state's low per diem reimbursement rates; failures to communicate rapidly-changing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control to managers at veterans homes; the absence of a system for family members to receive updates and communication from loved ones in the facilities; and outdated physical layouts in Paramus and Menlo Park that weren't designed for quarantining sick patients.

The three facilities, which care for nearly 950 residents, are available for honorably discharged veterans and their spouses, as well as parents of those who lost their lives in a wartime military action.

Phaedra Trethan has been a reporter and editor in South Jersey since 2007 and has called the region home since 1971. Contact her at ptrethan@gannettnj.com, on Twitter @wordsbyPhaedra, or by phone at 856.486-2417.

"Exhaustive Chronicle of Misdeeds" at Paramus Veterans Home Cited in Federal Report

PARAMUS, NJ - State veterans' homes in Paramus and Edison have been cited for causing unreasonable harm and risk to their residents during the COVID-19 pandemic and continually, according to a state and federal investigation.The Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey announced yesterday, September 7, they had concluded an investigation into whether New Jersey subjected residents of two veterans’ homes to conditions that violate the 14th Amendment of the U...

PARAMUS, NJ - State veterans' homes in Paramus and Edison have been cited for causing unreasonable harm and risk to their residents during the COVID-19 pandemic and continually, according to a state and federal investigation.

The Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey announced yesterday, September 7, they had concluded an investigation into whether New Jersey subjected residents of two veterans’ homes to conditions that violate the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution.

The pandemic resulted in the deaths of 89 residents at the NJ Veterans Home of Paramus.

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Governor Phil Murphy, whose administration is charged with oversight, said such treatment of veterans is "appalling," and noted his administration "has instituted numerous processes and procedures to improve conditions, including most recently securing private management and assistance for these two homes."

The investigating department found "reasonable cause to believe the residents of the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Homes at Menlo Park and Paramus face unreasonable harm and risk due to inadequate infection control practices and inadequate medical care, in violation of the U.S. Constitution."

The New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs operates the homes, which provide long-term nursing care to veterans and their families.

“Those who served to protect this nation and their families are entitled to appropriate care when they reside at a veterans’ home,” U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger for the District of New Jersey said. “The Paramus and Menlo Park veterans’ homes fail to provide the care required by the U.S. Constitution and subject their residents to unacceptable conditions, including inadequate infection control and deficient medical care. These conditions must swiftly be addressed to ensure that our veterans and their families at these facilities receive the care they so richly deserve. We will not stop working until they do.”

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said, “Based on our investigation, we have found that these facilities have provided inadequate protection from infections and deficient medical care, which have caused these veterans and their families great harm. We look forward to working with the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to improve the conditions in these homes they operate and ensure these veterans and their families receive the care they need and deserve.”

The inadequate infection control practices and inadequate medical care at the homes are compounded by a lack of effective management and oversight, according to the report. "Such deficiencies expose residents to uncontrolled, serious and deadly infections and have resulted in the veterans’ homes suffering among the highest number of resident deaths of all similarly sized facilities in the region."

The investigation was conducted under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), which authorizes the Justice Department to act to address a pattern or practice of deprivation of constitutional rights of individuals confined to state or local government-run residential institutions.

The report stirred various government officials to comment.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy:

“The U.S. Department of Justice’s report on the Veterans homes in Menlo Park and Paramus is a deeply disturbing reminder that the treatment received by our heroic veterans is unacceptable and, quite frankly, appalling. In an effort to provide our veterans with the care they deserve, over the past three years, our Administration has instituted numerous processes and procedures to improve conditions, including most recently securing private management and assistance for these two homes. However, it is clear that we have significantly more work to do, and we are open to exploring all options to deliver for our veterans the high level of care they deserve and are entitled to under the law. We commend the Legislature for their partnership to help us improve conditions, and we will continue to work together in any capacity to provide world-class care and services to our heroes and support to those who care for them.”

Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09):

“This report issued today by the Justice Department lays out in exhaustive detail a chronicle of misdeeds at these homes that should enrage everybody in New Jersey. What happened to our veterans was one of the terrible tragedies of the pandemic. Too many times residents at the facilities, seniors who fought for our country, have been left in brutal conditions. The incompetence, negligence, and outright recklessness by facility management led to loss of life. We have learned much about the deadly problems that happened early in the pandemic. But that issues as critical as infection control, quality standards of care, and proper oversight have not been remedied by now and continue into 2023 is beyond disturbing. I thank the federal and state investigators for their probity. Those responsible must be held accountable, and held accountable now.”

According to a press release, Congressman Pascrell "led calls" for an investigation at the Paramus home since the outset of the pandemic. "At his urging, the federal Veterans Affairs department sent 56 health care workers to support the facility. Infectious disease experts were also sent to Paramus to prevent spread of the virus at their request in April."

Candidates for New Jersey Legislative District 38 - Micheline Attieh, Gail Horton, and Barry Wilkes:

“Senator Lagana and Assemblymembers Swain and Tully should be ashamed of the findings of the latest DOJ report that characterizes the treatment of our veterans in the Paramus Veterans Memorial Home as ‘unconstitutional.’ They extended a blank check on Governor Murphy’s emergency powers during the pandemic, leading to the atrocious treatment of the brave men and women who served our country, along with the lockdowns of our schools and businesses. When we are in Trenton, we will never again let one man control the lives and livelihoods of so many without accountability and transparency.”

Senator Joe Lagana:

“It pains me to read the most recent report highlighting the failures at our state run veterans’ homes. The individuals relying on their care have put their lives on the line to protect our country, and they deserve nothing short of the highest quality medical services. To hear that staff were not adequately monitoring residents’ conditions or applying proper wound care underscores that the issues there go well beyond infectious disease control. They were failing to provide even basic medical care. The people of New Jersey should be outraged to learn that the state was content with providing such poor care to individuals we hold in such high regard. My heart breaks for all those living in these homes and their families. We cannot allow this to go on any longer.”

Senate President Nicholas Scutari:

“Today’s sobering report by the U.S. Department of Justice confirms what many veterans and their families already knew - there were serious violations and management failures that put some of our most vulnerable veterans at-risk during the COVID-19 health crisis. This was an unacceptable way to treat our veterans or anyone in need of care, especially from a trusted source. Many of the failures that are itemized in this report are jarring, and will undoubtedly require us to take further action to ensure the State of New Jersey performs to the level our residents deserve. The COVID-19 crisis might be over, but the virus remains with us, and we must take the steps necessary to ensure nothing like this ever happens again.”

U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5):

“The handling of the Paramus Veterans Home during the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the greatest tragedies New Jersey has ever witnessed. These men and women bravely served our country and made sacrifices so we can live freely and safely. In return, careless and negligent facility management violated their rights, took their lives, and destroyed families.

"Since I first heard from my constituents about the conditions at the home, I have been fighting for better conditions and oversight for our veterans and their families. The conditions were unacceptable then, and years later, despite all of the promises made to address the failures, they’re unacceptable now. Everyone is owed immediate answers, not only about how we got here, but also how to ensure this never happens again to those who fought valiantly for America.

"Immediately after the news of the COVID outbreak at the Paramus Veterans Home, I was on the phone with the State and the VA, demanding that they investigate the deaths and conditions — and take immediate action. We got the VA and National Guard on the ground — including doctors, medics, and nurses.

"I have asked for an immediate briefing from the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to understand why these conditions remained for so long and what steps needed to be taken to give our veterans the care they deserve.”

The NJ Veterans Home at Paramus, One Veterans Drive, Paramus, is located on 23 acres in northeastern Bergen County, opened on August 4, 1986, according to its website.

"It has two modern residential buildings, able to accommodate 336 residents, and two fenced-in garden areas. In the courtyard, near the main entrance, a monument stands in memory of those who served in World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam."

The facility is Medicare A Certified and is licensed by the New Jersey Department of Health and surveyed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The NJ Veterans Memorial Home at Menlo Park, 132 Evergreen Road, Edison, was rebuilt in 1999 on 109 acres in Middlesex County, according to its website.

"It is a modern skilled care nursing home providing 24/7 quality healthcare. The 312-bed facility features a "Town Square" core with services and resident living areas arrayed around it."

The facility is Medicare A certified and licensed by the New Jersey Department of Health and surveyed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

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