News Release

PO 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
Len Fishman
Commissioner
For Release:
January 15, 1999
For Further Information Contact:
Dennis McGowan
(609) 984-7160
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Department to Expand Long Term Care Ethics Committees
Through Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant

TRENTON -- The Department of Health and Senior Services' Office of the Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly today announced it has received a three-year, $250,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to expand and educate the office's network of regional long term care ethics committees. This project is being done in partnership with the Department of Medicine at the Cooper Health System in Camden and builds upon their previously conducted, federally funded research and pilot training sponsored by the Stein Foundation.

The grant, awarded through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's New Jersey Health Initiatives program, will allow the Ombudsman to increase the number of ethics committees from 10 to 12 and establish and deliver standardized education to all committee members. The grant will also fund outreach efforts to nursing homes and assisted living facilities to encourage their membership on the regional panels. Currently 158 of 407 licensed long term care facilities statewide participate on ethics committees.

"This grant marks the beginning of a new era of ethics in New Jersey's long term care facilities," said Bonnie Kelly, state Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly. "Building a well-educated and regionalized ethics network will promote facility participation on the committees and facilitate dispute resolution for residents and their families at the bedside."

Kelly said the enhanced committees will provide an important and vital resource for long term care facilities, residents and family members. The committees will be able to offer educational programs and case consultation services directly to facility professionals and ultimately to the residents and families they serve. Committee participants will receive 3 days of intensive training over a one year period and will have the opportunity to work through ethical dilemmas faced in long term care settings, such as end-of life decisions, with trained experts.

"We are very excited to be able to offer this kind of support to the nursing facilities of our state," said Kelly. "This project is a unique partnership between the State, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Cooper Health System, who will ultimately coordinate the network and conduct committee trainings."

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