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Rehab Facility Settles Claims of Patient Abuse

Under a settlement agreement announced yesterday, a rehabilitation facility in New Jersey (Bancroft) which provides long term residential care to children with acquired brain damage must pay a fine of $127,000 and has agreed to have a state appointed monitor oversee reforms in the care of children.

According to a New York Times story today (Metro Section, page B2), three years ago, a child with brain injuries died at the rehab facility after being placed in restraints. The state of New Jersey cited the facility for lapses in care that led to neglect and the physical and sexual abuse of children.  Among the reforms agreed to include improved training of staff, video monitoring at the center, better internal investigation procedures and more comprehensive medical care.

A proposal is currently pending in the New Jersey legislature known as "Matthew's Law" which would put limitations on the use of restraints on the disabled.

In New York State, reports of abuse to children or adults in any brain injury rehabilitation facility should be made to the State of New York, Department of Health and additionally to the Office of Quality Care for the Disabled.  The Brain Injury Association of New York State also has a toll free number to report abuses which will then be forwarded to the Health Department. The Association can be reached toll free at  1 800 228 8201.

In appropriate circumstances, private legal action may also be instituted for abuses and to obtain monetary compensation to the victim.

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