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You can embrace a brighter, pain-free future.

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  • Back PainBack Pain
  • Elbow PainElbow Pain
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  • Hip PainHip Pain
  • Shoulder PainShoulder Pain
Physical Therapy Menlo Park, NJ  Sciatica Pain Therapy Menlo Park, NJ

Physical Therpy For Injuries and Pain in Menlo Park, NJ

If there's one universal truth in life, it's that it can be unpredictable. Everyone experiences unexpected events that throw us off. While some surprises may only affect our bank accounts, such as home expenses, others can cause physical harm, such as car accidents that result in long-term pain and discomfort. Many Americans suffer from chronic neck and back pain - according to research, half of Americans over 18 develop musculoskeletal injuries that last longer than a year. These injuries often cause a range of mobility issues that make everyday tasks seem hard to do. Unfortunately, many people with chronic pain turn to addictive medications and invasive surgeries for relief, which tends to lead to further complications.

However, if you are experiencing chronic pain or mobility issues, there's good news: Safer and more effective options are available to you. Physical therapy in Menlo Park, NJ is one of the best solutions for eradicating pain, maximizing mobility, improving range of motion, building muscle strength, and helping you regain control of your body. At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, our physical therapists and trainers offer customized programs designed for your body and address your pain symptoms. That way, you have the best possible chance of reclaiming a normal, active life, without surgery or harmful pills.

With the incorporation of therapeutic exercises and manual therapy as well as newer techniques and modalities like AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmills and DRX9000 Spinal DecompressionMachines, our physical therapy services can help address conditions such as:

  • Sciatica Pain
  • Ankle Pain
  • Back Pain
  • Elbow Pain
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Hip Pain
  • Knee Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Wrist Pain
  • TMJ Pain
 Headaches And Migraines Therapy Menlo Park, NJ

Service Areas

When it comes to physical therapy in New Jersey, few clinics can match the care, compassion, and effective treatment options that NJ Sports Spine & Wellness can provide.

Why is Physical Therapy in Menlo Park, NJ So Important for Wellness?

Physical therapy can provide numerous benefits, such as pain reduction, enhanced joint and body movement, improved range of motion, proper alignment, and more. While the main goal of physical therapy is to restore function and facilitate a return to regular activities, these outcomes usually result from a broader rehabilitation process, wherein many patients learn a brand-new way of moving.

At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, our physical therapists work closely with patients to understand their unique goals, preferences, and abilities. Based on their findings, they create a customized treatment plan that caters to the patient's specific needs.

Here are just a few specific examples of why physical therapy is crucial when recovering from an injury:

  • Physical therapy helps restore function and mobility after illness, injury, or surgery.
  • Physical therapy promotes healing and pain management by utilizing therapeutic modalities and exercises.
  • Physical therapy helps patients suffering from neurological conditions improve their independence.
  • Physical therapy helps seniors avoid falls by improving balance.
  • Physical therapy can improve flexibility and strength to enhance sports and physical activity performance.
  • Physical therapy facilitates injury prevention through education and analysis of proper body mechanics.
 Shoulder Pain Therapy Menlo Park, NJ

Whether you're searching for long-term pain relief or need to improve your strength and balance as you age, physical therapy from NJSSW can help.

Now that you understand why physical therapy is crucial for recovery and wellness, let's take a closer look at some of the most effective treatments at our physical therapy clinic in New Jersey.

 Wrist Pain Therapy Menlo Park, NJ

The DRX9000: Relief from Chronic Back and Neck Pain

Are you sick of living day-to-day with long-lasting neck or back pain? Have you searched high and low for a safe and effective alternative to surgery? The DRX9000 may be the answer you're looking for.

Beloved by high-level athletes and even celebrities, this advanced medical device employs non-surgical spinal decompression therapy to treat painful conditions such as:

  • Bulging Discs
  • Herniated Discs
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Facet Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Arm Pain from Nerves in Your Neck

The DRX9000 is a device that has been approved by the FDA for treating herniated discs through spinal decompression therapy. This therapy works by applying equal amounts of pressure on your vertebral columns, which stretches your spine and creates a gap between spinal discs. This gap allows for better nutrient flow through your spine, which can help heal injuries gradually with regular treatment sessions. The DRX9000 also utilizes servo motors that rely on nested closed-loop feedback to customize therapy to your unique needs. By using DRX9000, you can often speed up your recovery by addressing your spinal disc issues ASAP.

No Harmful Medications Needed (Do we really need this paragraph or could we just mention it int he beginning about how it is a non-pharmaceutical method)

Perhaps the most significant advantage of the DRX9000 is that it provides a non-pharmaceutical method for relieving pain. With the opioid epidemic affecting the entire nation, many patients are reluctant to take prescription painkillers. The DRX9000 offers a secure and non-addictive alternative for pain relief that does not require medication.

During the course of the treatment, the patient will lie down on a specially designed table that is connected to the machine. The table will then be gently stretched as the machine creates negative pressure within the affected disc. This process will be repeated over a series of sessions, typically ranging from 20 to 30 sessions, depending on the patient's specific condition.

The DRX9000 treatment is considered to be safe and effective for many patients. It is designed to be gentle on the body, and patients usually experience little to no discomfort during their sessions. The machine is also equipped with advanced safety features, including sensors that can detect any sudden movements and stop the machine if necessary.

Expedite Rehab and Training with the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill

The AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill boasts NASA Differential Air Pressure (DAP) technology, which is a highly accurate air calibration system that leverages your actual body weight to achieve exceptional results in rehab and training. By utilizing a pressurized air chamber, the AlterG allows you to move freely and without pain, as it uniformly reduces gravitational load and body weight by up to 80% in precise 1% increments. This process helps foster improved muscle strength, balance, function, range of motion, and overall fitness.

What Makes the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill So Effective for Physical Therapy in CItyname, State?

AlterG®'s state-of-the-art treadmill provides an entire range of benefits, such as mimicking natural movement and rhythm without the contrived feel of hydrotherapy or harnesses attempting to imitate real-life strides and motions. Additionally, it's beneficial for speeding up recuperation after orthopedic injuries or surgeries by enabling early mobilization and retaining strength. Furthermore, it's excellent for sports recovery since athletes can utilize it to maintain their physical fitness.

Some of the numerous benefits of using the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill include:

  • Accelerated Recovery Time
  • Relief from Impact-Related Pain and Discomfort
  • Customized Programs Suited to Your Needs
  • Effective Solution for All Ages
  • Safe and Controlled Environment
  • Improves Motivation and Confidence
  • Used by Elite Athletes and Celebrities

The AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill is a revolutionary piece of equipment that has transformed the field of physical therapy. With its list of unique features and superhero-worthy benefits, this anti-gravity treadmill is a game-changer that can help you achieve your fitness and recovery goals while also minimizing the risk of injury.

 Chronic  Pain Therapy Menlo Park, NJ
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Physical Therapy Menlo Park, NJ

Experience Optimized Healing with LiteCure Low-Level Laser Therapy

After reading the headline above, you might be asking yourself, "Are lasers really used for physical therapy in cityname, state?" The answer to your question would be a resounding "Yes!" This advanced type of laser therapy harnesses the power of light through photobiomodulation (PBM), which is revolutionizing how patients heal and deal with pain.

Photobiomodulation (PBM) is a medical process that utilizes targeted light to activate the body's natural healing mechanisms. By penetrating deep into the tissue, photons interact with mitochondria (the cellular powerhouses in your body) to increase energy production. This interaction triggers a biological cascade that leads to increased cellular metabolism. As a result, PBM can reduce pain, accelerate tissue repair, and enhance overall well-being.

Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is a non-invasive and painless treatment that utilizes specific wavelengths of light to stimulate healing and reduce pain. It works by penetrating the skin and tissues to promote cellular activity and increase blood flow, which in turn helps to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and accelerate the healing process.

LLLT has been shown to be effective for a variety of conditions, including musculoskeletal injuries, arthritis, neuropathy, and more. It is a safe and gentle treatment option that can aid in regaining function and mobility from injuries, accidents, surgeries, and other conditions. That makes it a viable and trustworthy addition to your personalized physical therapy plan from NJ Sports Spine & Wellness.

LLLT has shown promising results for challenging conditions that other treatments can't match. Some of the most common conditions treated include:

  • Muscle Pain
  • Pain from Tendinopathy
  • Osteoarthritis Pain
  • Swollen Joints
  • Myofascial Pain
  • Back and Neck Pain
  • Pain from TMJ
  • Achilles Tendon Injury Pain
  • Plantar Fasciitis Pain
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If you're slogging through life and suffering from one or more of the conditions above, you should know that there is hope for pain relief. Contact NJ Sports Spine & Wellness today to find out if low-level laser therapy is right for you.

Freeze Away Pain and Swelling with Ice Compression Therapy

Game Ready Ice Compression Therapy is an advanced treatment technique that combines the advantages of modern cryotherapy (ice therapy) with the proven benefits of compression therapy. This clinically proven, synergistic approach is widely used in sports medicine, physical therapy, orthopedics, and post-operative care to speed up recovery, alleviate pain and inflammation, and enhance rehabilitation.

Understanding the Powerful Benefits of Ice Compression Therapy

 Sciatica Pain Therapy Menlo Park, NJ

Game Ready Ice Compression Therapy is an advanced treatment technique that combines the advantages of modern cryotherapy (ice therapy) with the proven benefits of compression therapy. This clinically proven, synergistic approach is widely used in sports medicine, physical therapy, orthopedics, and post-operative care to speed up recovery, alleviate pain and inflammation, and enhance rehabilitation.

The "cold" component of ice compression therapy helps nullify nerve-ending sensitivity, which provides pain relief. The extra compression gives you even more pain relief by reducing swelling and pressure on limbs and other body parts.

By improving lymphatic flow and enhancing blood circulation, compression therapy can help reduce swelling and edema, thereby improving your recovery process and simultaneously reducing pain and discomfort.

The concurrent use of cryotherapy and compression can enhance the body's innate healing mechanisms by reducing inflammation, mitigating tissue damage, and stimulating tissue repair.

Game Ready's combination therapy has been shown to be effective in improving joint flexibility and range of motion by promoting tissue healing. This treatment can be a great option for those looking to alleviate discomfort and improve overall joint health.

 Headaches And Migraines Therapy Menlo Park, NJ

Whether you're recovering from surgery or you're trying to manage chronic pain in your back or joints, ice compression therapy may be the advanced treatment you need. Contact NJSSW today to learn more about how this treatment can help you live an active life free of pain.

NormaTec Compression Therapy:

A Non-Invasive Option for Enhanced Recovery

Game Ready Ice Compression Therapy is an advanced treatment technique that combines the advantages of modern cryotherapy (ice therapy) with the proven benefits of compression therapy. This clinically proven, synergistic approach is widely used in sports medicine, physical therapy, orthopedics, and post-operative care to speed up recovery, alleviate pain and inflammation, and enhance rehabilitation.

What Makes NormaTec Compression Therapy Best for Physical Therapy in Cityname, State?

Game Ready Ice Compression Therapy is an advanced treatment technique that combines the advantages of modern cryotherapy (ice therapy) with the proven benefits of compression therapy. This clinically proven, synergistic approach is widely used in sports medicine, physical therapy, orthopedics, and post-operative care to speed up recovery, alleviate pain and inflammation, and enhance rehabilitation.

NormaTec's compression therapy devices have undergone continuous refinement and improvement since their inception. The adjustable settings of their system enable users to regulate the intensity, duration, and pattern of compression, thereby enabling our skilled providers to tailor treatment to suit the specific requirements and comfort levels of each patient.

 Shoulder Pain Therapy Menlo Park, NJ

Experience Holistic Wellness with Cupping Therapy in New Jersey

In the realm of holistic wellness, cupping therapy is a venerable and time-honored practice that has proven to be an effective technique for managing pain and enhancing blood flow. At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, we recognize the diverse benefits of cupping therapy, which we offer at both our Matawan and Marlboro, NJ locations.

This ancient technique creates suction on your skin using specialized cups that help promote blood flow, muscle relaxation, and pain relief.

Why is Cupping Therapy Helpful for Physical Therapy in CItyname, State?

 Wrist Pain Therapy Menlo Park, NJ

At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, we believe that incorporating holistic treatments into physical therapy can greatly benefit our patients. As part of our efforts to alleviate stress and manage chronic pain or conditions, we offer cupping therapy as one of those holistic treatments. This modality has been proven effective and offers numerous benefits for physical therapy, which include:

Cupping therapy can help release muscle tension and relieve back pain. The suction from the cups releases fascial restrictions, decreases muscle tightness, and relieves muscle knots, providing relief from pain caused by muscular tightness or strain.

Our skilled practitioners and physical therapists use modern cupping devices and techniques to create consistent suction on the skin, which stimulates blood flow and encourages oxygen-rich blood to flow into muscles and tissues. This improved circulation can reduce inflammation, remove toxins, and promote healing.

Cupping therapy can relieve back pain by improving circulation, reducing muscle tension, and increasing lymphatic drainage. It's a natural and non-invasive approach that can improve mobility and quality of life.

Cupping therapy uses a gentle suction and pulling sensation that helps ease back pain and reduces stress by creating a calming effect on the body and mind, promoting physical and mental healing.

Reclaim Your Mobility with Physical Therapy in Menlo Park, NJ

At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, we always prioritize your well-being and offer comprehensive care tailored to your needs. With customized physical therapy tailored to your specific needs, we provide a drug-free, non-invasive, and highly effective treatment path for pain relief and recovery. From tried-and-true techniques to cutting-edge treatments, we're New Jersey's top choice for innovative physical therapy.

Take the first step towards a pain-free, vibrant life by contacting our office today. It all starts by scheduling your initial consultation. With our highly-trained and licensed specialists by your side, you can embrace a brighter, pain-free future.

 Chronic  Pain Therapy Menlo Park, NJ

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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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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.

How We Live:Can Camden, N.J. rise when neighborhoods are ground zero for the opioid epidemic?

"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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