TRENTON, N.J. – People nearing the end of their lives will have more control of their care under legislation approved today by the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee. Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz sponsors the bill (S1109/A2144) allowing physician assistants to sign Practitioner Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment forms.
“End of life care is a very personal concern,” said Munoz (R-Union). “These can be the some of the most difficult decisions of a patient’s life.”
The POLST form allows patients to state in their own words what their wishes are for end-of-life care. The form then becomes a medical order which must be followed by all providers.
The decisions include whether to attempt resuscitation, administer IV fluids, use intubation and mechanical ventilation, and provide nutrition.
Currently, the forms must be signed by a physician or advanced practice nurse to be valid. This bill expands the number of providers who may sign the form.
Munoz’ bill requires physician assistants to complete two credits of continuing education on topics related to end-of-life care.
The Senate passed the bill unanimously in April.