TRENTON, NJ – The governor signed a bill (A4682/S3118) this week, sponsored by Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz, that establishes an awareness campaign in the state Health Department to encourage community-wide conversations about advanced care planning and end-of-life care.
“End-of-life discussions are difficult, but necessary. When people are prepared to have conversations, and know what questions need to be answered, they can be more fully prepared,” said Munoz (R-Union). “Having these discussions earlier, helps everyone involved – the patients, health care providers and family.”
According to a 2018 report by the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, at least one out of four seniors in the state dies in a hospital. This is the third highest rate nationwide. In addition, 60 percent of New Jersey adults reported having no written documents expressing their wishes for their care at the end of their lives.
Under the legislation, the Commissioner of Health must provide educational materials to the public on issues such as the importance of having an advance directive, how community leaders and members can facilitate discussions surrounding end-of-life care, and how people can speak with family members, friends, and healthcare providers about desired end-of-life preferences.