Bills improving end-of-life and palliative care signed into law

Bills improving end-of-life and palliative care signed into law

Nancy F. Munoz

TRENTON, NJ – Patients with serious illnesses or facing end-of-life issues will find improved medical care thanks to bills (A4683 and A4685) sponsored by Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz and signed into law this week.

A4683 requires health providers and administrative staff at assisted living facilities, personal care homes, dementia care homes, hospitals, and long-term care facilities to undergo annual end-of-life care training including the use of POLST forms and advanced directives. Facilities must also implement policies to address end-of-life care issues for patients upon admission and provide patients with information.

“This law puts patients first and helps put them in control of their care,” said Munoz (R-Union). “Patients must make intimate personal decisions and need the tools to do that with help from those who are looking out for their health and well-being. This law will ensure more people are able to formalize their wishes for end-of-life-care.”

The second law (A4685) requires hospital emergency departments in the state to develop and implement a plan to integrate palliative care services for patients when appropriate. Palliative care is medical care that attempts to optimize the quality of life by anticipating, preventing, and treating the effects of chronic serious illness.

“Sometimes people turn to emergency rooms to receive medical relief from a serious illness that could be better managed through palliative care,” said Munoz. “These patients need to understand how such care can help manage their symptoms and address their individual needs.”