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Chiropractor in Menlo Park, NJ

Chiropractor Menlo Park, NJ

What is Chiropractic Care?

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Chiropractic care is a drug-free, non-invasive approach to overall wellness and healing that focuses on correcting issues with your musculoskeletal system. When performed by a licensed chiropractor, it can alleviate and even eliminate common problems such as:

  • Back Pain
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Headaches
  • Sciatica
  • Knee Pain
  • Automobile Injuries
  • Sports Injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Body Aches

To treat your conditions and help reduce your pain, chiropractors use time-tested, hands-on techniques to adjust your spine, neck, back, and other joints throughout your body to restore proper function, mobility, and alignment. Once your body is in proper alignment, it functions optimally, leading to improved overall wellness and health.

Unlike some sports rehab clinics in The Garden State, chiropractors from NJ Sports Spine & Wellness work with you one-on-one to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses your specific goals and needs relating to your pain and ability to live a normal life. Because our team takes a holistic approach to healthcare, we cover all aspects of your health and wellness when developing your chiropractic treatment plan. That way, we increase your chances of living a fulfilling life free of pain and worry about throwing your back out.

 Back Pain Relief Menlo Park, NJ

What are the Benefits of Seeing a Chiropractor in Menlo Park, NJ?

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Seeing a chiropractor can quite literally change your life for the better. According to the American Chiropractic Association, in general, chiropractic therapy is a more effective solution for back pain than other treatments like addictive pain pills, surgeries, and yoga. When combined with services like physical therapy, occupational therapy, and acupuncture, chiropractic care may be the key you need to open the door to a pain-free life.

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Some of the many benefits of seeing a reliable, licensed chiropractor include the following:

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Relief from Back Pain

Perhaps the most obvious reason to make an appointment with a chiropractor is for back pain relief. Some people only need to see a chiropractor when they have occasional back pain, such as when they wake up in the morning. Others, such as those who have been in serious car accidents, need regular chiropractic adjustments and therapies, which are often supplemented with techniques like physical therapy and acupuncture.

There are many causes of back pain that range from advanced conditions like having sciatica and herniated discs to everyday issues like poor posture and sleeping in a harmful position. Your chiropractor's job is to pinpoint the cause(s) of your back pain and build a customized plan to address your musculoskeletal conditions. Once that happens, pain relief follows shortly after.

At New Jersey Sports Spine & Wellness, we craft personalized chiropractic plans for every patient we treat, with the goal of avoiding harmful surgeries and addictive medicines.

Neck Pain Menlo Park, NJ

Relief from Headaches

If you've never experienced a headache in your life, you're exceedingly rare. Just about every American will suffer from a headache at some point or another. For some, headaches only happen occasionally and are not much more than an annoyance. For others, headaches evolve into crippling migraines that can affect quality of life, ability to work, and much more.

If you find yourself digging into a bottle of Aspirin or something stronger when you have a headache, it might be time to visit an NJSSW chiropractor.

Knee Pain Menlo Park, NJ

Improved Sleep

Do you wake up in the morning feeling like you didn't sleep a wink the previous night? Do you have to take sleep aides like Ambien in order to drift off to dreamland? If you have chronic back pain, getting a full night's rest is easier said than done. From misaligned spines to improper sleeping posture, your chiropractor in Menlo Park can use manipulation therapy and other techniques to boost blood flow and align your vertebrae, so your body can heal itself and help you rest better.

Relief For Sciatica Menlo Park, NJ

Reduced Anxiety and Stress

One of the best things about seeing your chiropractor is that when your session is over, you often feel great. The pain relief feels phenomenal. When you're not in pain, you have a more positive outlook on life, and often enjoy better sleep, blood pressure, and even sexual relations. It makes sense, then, that chiropractic care has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety, which promotes relaxation and improved mental health.

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Athletic Performance

At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, we work with a long list of athletes who suffer from sports injuries and other problems that can manifest from being active. For professional athletes, having a trustworthy chiropractor to care for them is needed for their careers. But you don't have to be a pro athlete to benefit from chiropractic care. Ordinary people that enjoy active lifestyles can reap tremendous rewards through chiropractic care, such as improved range of motion and relief from compressed discs.

Whether you enjoy impromptu games of tag football or simply want to play with your kids, seeing a chiropractor can help you be healthy and active without fighting back, neck, and joint pain. That's especially true when chiropractic therapy is used in conjunction with acupuncture, physical therapy, or occupational therapy.ies and addictive medicines.

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Common Chiropractic Techniques

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Your NJ Sports Spine & Wellness chiropractor in Menlo Park may use a range of techniques to restore function and alignment in your body. Some of the most common techniques our chiropractors use include:

  • Mobilization: This chiropractic strategy uses gentle movements to help restore joint functionality and proper spinal alignment.
  • Manipulation: Spinal manipulation uses controlled force and gravity to correct spinal issues and restore healthy alignment.
  • Electrical Stimulation: With this therapy, electrical currents are used to stimulate your muscles and help heal injuries faster.
  • Soft Tissue Therapy: This type of massage and other hands-on techniques relieve muscle tension while providing pain relief and promoting soft tissue health.
  • Trigger Point Therapy: With this therapy, the targeted use of pressure is used to release tension and improve functionality across specific areas of your body.
  • Ultrasounds: High-frequency sound waves can break up plaque and help stimulate your body's natural healing processes for injuries and wounds.

Reclaim Your Active Life with Physical Therapy and Chiropractic Care

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Life has a habit of being unexpected. Sure, some surprises only hurt your bank account, like last-minute renovations in your home. But severe incidents, like car accidents, can inflict physical injuries that cause you long-term pain. These problems, like neck and back injuries, affect many Americans daily. Even worse, many hardworking people turn to risky surgeries and addictive pain medications, only to find themselves deep in a hole that seems impossible to get out of.

If you suffer from serious range-of-motion issues or you're in chronic pain, it's important to know that you have treatment choices. You don't have to put your health at risk to relieve your pain. One of the most successful non-invasive treatments offered for pain is physical therapy. The main goal of physical therapy is to restore movement and function to patients affected by illness, injury, or disability.

Physical therapists work with patients of all ages and abilities, from children to elderly adults, to help them overcome physical limitations and improve their quality of life. At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, our physical therapists help treat a wide range of conditions, from neck pain and spinal cord injuries to back pain and arthritis.

Once our PTs have made headway, they will often use our chiropractic therapy to provide the patient with more relief. Having the option of both chiropractic and physical therapy is often very effective, because your chiropractor in Menlo Park can address nerve irritation and joint dysfunction while your physical therapist helps retrain your musculoskeletal system, allowing your body to heal faster.

Some of the biggest benefits of using physical therapy along with chiropractic care include:

  • Restoring Mobility After Injury, Surgery, or Illness
  • Developing Flexibility and Strength for Physical Activities
  • Safe Relief from Chronic Pain
  • Improved Spine and Joint Health
  • Enhanced Knowledge of Your Body and How to Prevent Injuries
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Back Pain Specialist Near Me Menlo Park, NJ

Engage in Activities of Daily Living with Occupational Therapy and Chiropractic Therapy

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Occupational therapy, or OT, is to help patients of all ages and abilities engage in activities of daily living, or ADL. Often, that means helping patients reclaim the ability to continue working, going to school, accomplishing day-to-day tasks, or other activities common to daily living.

Occupational therapy can benefit individuals going through many conditions, such as traumatic brain injuries, strokes, spinal cord injuries, autism spectrum disorders, developmental delays, and chronic pain. The end goal of occupational therapy is to help patients achieve the maximum level of independence and participation in their daily lives. If pain, discomfort, weakness, fatigue, or fear prevent you from participating in activities you love, an OT from NJ Sports Spine & Wellness could become the MVP of your wellness journey.

To give our patients the most complete pain relief and recovery options, our doctors and practitioners will often lean on the expertise of both a physical therapist and a chiropractor in Menlo Park. By working together, your PT, OT, and chiropractor can provide you with a comprehensive approach to total-body functionality, from your spine and joints to your mind and range of motion.

Some of the most common benefits of using OT with chiropractic care include:

  • Chronic Pain Relief
  • Improvement of Both Physical and Mental, Emotional, or Developmental Disabilities
  • Improved Development of Fine Motor Skills
  • Better Spine and Musculoskeletal Health
  • Help with Sensory Processing Disorders
  • Much More
Back Pain Doctor Near Me Menlo Park, NJ

Boost Self-Healing Processes with Acupuncture and Chiropractic Care

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Acupuncture boosts your body's functions and helps improve its ability to heal through anatomic site stimulation - usually called acupuncture points or acupoints. To stimulate these points, acupuncturists at NJ Sports Spine & Wellness insert fine, sterile needles into your skin. Most patients don't feel any pain as needles are applied. Typically, needles are left in the skin up to 30 minutes. After your session, it's normal to feel incredibly relaxed.

While some practitioners still adhere to traditional philosophies, modern acupuncturists take an integrative approach to the therapy. Today, professional acupuncturists use these techniques to stimulate your body's natural healing and pain-fighting processes. When coupled with personalized care from a chiropractor in Menlo Park as well as physical or occupational therapy, you can find real relief from the physical and emotional roadblocks holding you back. Some of the most reported benefits of acupuncture treatment include:

  • Back, Neck, and General Pain Relief
  • Improved Digestion and Relief from IBS and Acid Reflux
  • Relief from Menstrual Cramps
  • Treatment for Allergies and Asthma
  • Enhanced Blood Flow
  • Much More

During an acupuncture session, you may feel a slight sensation of warmth or tingling at the needle's site of insertion. Generally speaking, acupuncture is painless and perfectly safe for you to consider. In fact, many practitioners and doctors recommend combining acupuncture with other treatment options like chiropractic adjustments.

Though acupuncture and chiropractic therapies come from different origins, both include non-invasive, holistic, and gentle approaches that don't require drugs to work. They also both facilitate total-body healing by addressing the underlying causes of your symptoms - not just the symptoms themselves.

Because acupuncture is known to release endorphins and improve blood flow, having a session prior to a chiropractic adjustment can be very beneficial. That's because, after acupuncture, your muscles are less stiff, more relaxed, and easier to adjust effectively. Over time, as you combine acupuncture and chiropractic therapy, you'll benefit from less inflammation and less pain as you heal from injuries or musculoskeletal conditions. That same truth applies to patients who undergo serious chiropractic adjustments.

Trust the NJ Sports Spine & Wellness Difference

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At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, our staff consists of licensed and highly-trained professionals, including specialists focusing on:

  • Pain Management
  • Sports Medicine
  • Chiropractic Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Acupuncture

Contact Us

phone-number732-316-5895

Every member of our team believes that the path to wellness and a pain-free life begins with customized treatment plans that cater to your needs and body. Unlike some chiropractors in Menlo Park, we do not treat on-the-surface symptoms with one-size-fits-all therapies. We do not rely on powerful pain medications to mask your pain or invasive surgeries that require weeks of recovery. Instead, we address the root causes of your pain so that we can help you live the happy, healthy life you're craving.

To achieve that goal, we'll conduct an in-depth evaluation to learn about your medical history. We'll also perform diagnostic tests and speak with you one-on-one to get a better sense of your needs. From there, we'll recommend the therapies that can give you a new lease on life and be there for every milestone you hit.

If you're fed up of living with the limits of pain and lack of mobility, we're here to help you break free. Contact our office today to get started.

 Back Pain Relief Menlo Park, NJ

Latest News in Menlo Park, NJ

New York Fries brings 2nd US location to NJ

New York Fries, a concept featuring a variety of plain and loaded fresh cut, cooked-to-order French fries, recently made its New Jersey debut.Located in the dining pavilion at Menlo Park Mall in Edison, the corporate-owned outpost opened Feb. 11 as the brand’s second restaurant in the U.S.Billed as a “premium French fry restaurant,” New York Fries’ niche menu consists of fries made with Idaho potatoes cooked in non-hydrogenated s...

New York Fries, a concept featuring a variety of plain and loaded fresh cut, cooked-to-order French fries, recently made its New Jersey debut.

Located in the dining pavilion at Menlo Park Mall in Edison, the corporate-owned outpost opened Feb. 11 as the brand’s second restaurant in the U.S.

Billed as a “premium French fry restaurant,” New York Fries’ niche menu consists of fries made with Idaho potatoes cooked in non-hydrogenated sunflower oil and served plain or loaded with toppings, like beef chili, pulled pork, queso and crumbled bacon.

Additionally, the concept serves a classic Canadian delicacy, poutine, topped with beef gravy and Wisconsin cheese curds, as well as all-beef grilled hot dogs with an array of loaded options. The menu also includes vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free items.

After starting 40 years ago as a small fry shop at Manhattan’s South Street Seaport, the brand went on to become a staple at food courts throughout Canada.

Now owned by Recipe Restaurant Group, a Canadian food conglomerate, the chain has more than 130 locations through Canada and the Middle East. Last month, New York Fries returned to the U.S., unveiling a spot on Long Island at Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City.

The fries have it

The brand expects to follow up its Edison launch with an opening at Newport Centre in Jersey City during the first quarter of 2024.

New York Fries at Menlo Park is open Monday to Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday noon to 6 p.m.

A grand opening ceremony with Edison Mayor Sam Joshi is scheduled for Feb. 29, according to New York Fries.

“Off the heels of our exciting reentrance into the United States with our Roosevelt Field Mall opening, expanding into New Jersey is an amazing next step towards our continued growth across the East Coast and beyond,” Craig Burt, New York Fries’ chief operating officer said in a statement.

“We’ve received such a warm welcome from our opening in Long Island and expect a similar response from the Edison community. We’re thrilled to bring our premium fresh-cut fries to guests across the area and can’t wait for Menlo Park mall goers to try the perfect French fry,” he added.

New York Fries Opens At Menlo Park Mall In Edison, First NJ Spot

EDISON, N.J. — The opening of New York Fries at Menlo Park Mall is bringing a new kind of sizzle to the local foodie scene.New York Fries offers a gourmet take on the fresh-cut fries concept, and it had its official New Jersey grand opening Feb. 29 at the mall, with Mayor Sam Joshi leading the township prese...

EDISON, N.J. — The opening of New York Fries at Menlo Park Mall is bringing a new kind of sizzle to the local foodie scene.

New York Fries offers a gourmet take on the fresh-cut fries concept, and it had its official New Jersey grand opening Feb. 29 at the mall, with Mayor Sam Joshi leading the township presence.

"New York Fries has opened its first location in New Jersey and second in the USA right here @menloparkmall Edison. They serve high quality fries with all kinds of toppings. Check it out!" the mayor posted.

With its soft opening earlier last month, the Edison restaurant is the brand’s second restaurant to open within the U.S. this year, the company says, with its first at a Long Island mall.

Under its NYF logo, the company has more than 100 restaurants across Canada and 25 throughout the Middle East. So the next time you're at the Dubai Mall, stop by!

Find out what's happening in Edison-Metuchenwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

The company's name originates from the two New York City brothers who came up with the idea, the company says, but made it happen in Canada. Now its coming back home, in a way, to the metro area.

It's an admittedly niche menu, with high-quality, fresh-cut fries that are cooked to order.

New York Fries, operated under Recipe Restaurant Group, features fries made with Idaho potatoes, served plain or loaded with a variety of toppings, including beef chili, pulled pork, queso and crumbled bacon.

Also on the menu is a classic Canadian delicacy - poutine - topped with beef gravy and Wisconsin cheese curds for guests across Edison to discover and enjoy.

Additionally, the New York Fries menu features all-beef grilled hot dogs and an array of loaded "dog" options. Ingredients are sourced from Idaho and other local sources here and in Canada, the company says.

New York Fries offers a selection of vegetarian options and the fries are gluten free and vegan, the company says. Potatoes are cooked in non-hydrogenated sunflower oil, using a three-stage method. As nothing else goes into the fryers except potatoes, the brand can appeal to those with dietary and allergen restrictions, serving vegan, vegetarian and gluten-friendly items.

Also recently, there was an opening of the restaurant in Roosevelt Field Mall in Long Island, the company's first location. One is planned for Smith Haven Mall in Long Island and now Newport Center in Jersey City later this fiscal quarter, the company says. The locations are corporate owned.

"Expanding into New Jersey is an amazing next step towards our continued growth across the East Coast and beyond,” said Craig Burt, Chief Operating Officer at New York Fries. “We’ve received such a warm welcome from our opening in Long Island and expect a similar response from the Edison community. We’re thrilled to bring our premium fresh-cut fries to guests across the area and can’t wait for Menlo Park mall goers to try the perfect French fry.”

Here are some helpful tips about the new Edison restaurant:

The Canadian 130-plus restaurant chain is located in all major mall food courts there, as well as select highway rest stop locations, the company says.

As for its parent company, founded in 1883, Recipe Restaurant Group is Canada’s largest full-service restaurant group, and the brands sound intriguing:

The company franchises and/or operates such brands as Swiss Chalet, Harvey’s, St-Hubert, The Keg, Montana’s, Kelseys, East Side Mario’s, New York Fries, Bier Markt, The Landing Group of Restaurants, Original Joe’s, State & Main, Elephant & Castle, The Burger’s Priest, The Pickle Barrel, Marigolds & Onions, Blanco Cantina, Añejo, Fresh Kitchen and Juice Bar.

More information about the Company is available at http://www.recipeunlimited.com.

Signs of apparent mold at troubled veterans home spark $500K remediation effort

The Veteran’s Memorial Home at Menlo Park in Edison, which was the target of federal sanctions earlier this year over major shortcomings in care, has embarked on a costly, months-long mold remediation project after a whistleblower said he raised an alarm over conditions in the building.Officials would neither confirm the presence of mold, nor rule it out, descri...

The Veteran’s Memorial Home at Menlo Park in Edison, which was the target of federal sanctions earlier this year over major shortcomings in care, has embarked on a costly, months-long mold remediation project after a whistleblower said he raised an alarm over conditions in the building.

Officials would neither confirm the presence of mold, nor rule it out, describing the dark staining on walls that could be seen in photos of the facility only as a “discoloration.”

At least 11 rooms were found to have discolored drywall, according to officials at the 312-bed state-operated nursing home for veterans and their spouses. They said the problems were discovered not by the whistleblower, but in the course of regular inspections.

“We are concerned about mold,” acknowledged Lisa Kranis, the chief executive officer at Menlo Park, in a letter to staff, residents and families last Friday. She said an outside consultant conducted two site visits the week of May 15, leading to the decision to immediately move forward with an abatement plan.

“Abatement will involve cutting and replacing portions of the drywall in impacted rooms,” she wrote.

Another 17 rooms had leaky toilet issues, which officials blamed on failed wax rings.

The cost of the entire project was estimated at approximately $500,000, said a spokeswoman for the facility.

In a followup letter to staff and residents on Thursday, Kranis said standard practice was to conduct mold testing at the conclusion of abatement. But she noted that an air sample “pre-test” will be conducted to “help inform the level of effort required for the abatement.”

A maintenance worker and painter who claimed he was suspended after refusing to just paint over the stained drywall, however, said there was extensive mold behind many walls.

“The whole building is full of mold. They are just remediating what they find,” complained Jean Lormine, a former union leader who is appealing his suspension. “I reported it to my supervisor, but they did nothing about it.”

He said mold has to be tested, treated and remediated.

“Even if they wipe it down, the mold is still there,” he said. “You need a deep cleaning.”

Earlier this year, the facility was hit with more than $340,000 in federal penalties, following charges of improper care and abuse that put the lives of residents in “immediate jeopardy” and threatened a shutdown of the facility. Those violations led to a suspension of new admissions by the state Department of Health and a warning that the facility could be terminated from federal assistance programs.

State officials in February indicated that they had turned the corner at Menlo Park, announcing that the facility had improved its infection control strategies, made key personnel changes, and had been permitted to resume admissions.

In response to the staining and leaks, the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, or DMAVA, said it has developed a contractual work order for the scope of repair work of the walls and plumbing.

The agency said it just finalized two purchase orders, one to retain an outside firm for inspections and consulting and the second for the actual abatement work.

In her letter, Kranis said the wall and toilet issues were uncovered during scheduled routine maintenance as part of a deep cleaning and inspection of each occupied room at Menlo Park.

“To do this, in small groups of rooms at a time, we ask residents to relocate for 1-2 days in order to allow our facility staff the chance to move the furniture and furnishings to thoroughly inspect the residents’ rooms and bathrooms,” she wrote.

When one resident room was found to have discolored drywall on May 4, the maintenance staff and DMAVA’s Environmental Management Branch began conducting multiple maintenance checks, leading to the identification of more than two dozen rooms with issues, officials said.

“We relocated all of the residents from these 28 rooms to mitigate any health concerns and to avoid further disrupting them with the work and testing ahead,” Kranis wrote. “We are treating the issues we see as mold, however the industry standard for mold testing is the sampling of both outside air and internal air, and comparing the findings at the end of abatement.”

Sampling will be done in each room where the abatement work is ongoing upon completion. Air ducts will be inspected as well, she said.

A spokeswoman said the work is planned to continue over several months.

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Susan K. Livio may be reached at slivio@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @SusanKLivio.

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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.

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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