PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:

Christopher Rinn
Acting Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

Christie Administration Recognizes National Hospice and Palliative Care Month

As part of National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, the New Jersey Department of Health, in collaboration with the New Jersey Advisory Council on End of Life Care, is gathering feedback from New Jersey residents who may be impacted by decisions and conversations on End-of-Life Care.
The Department houses the New Jersey Advisory Council on End of Life Care, which will use survey findings to help develop recommendations over the next few months to inform policymakers and educate the public on end of life care issues. The survey is collecting feedback on how residents discuss end-of-life wishes, goals of treatment and experiences of loved ones with terminal illness. To participate in the survey, click here.
“Serious illnesses and end-of-life care raise difficult and emotional issues that families are often reluctant to discuss,” said Acting Health Commissioner Christopher Rinn. “National Hospice and Palliative Care Month is a reminder to plan ahead for this challenging time by having discussions with loved ones about wishes for end-of-life care.”
Every year throughout the country, 1.6 million people living with a terminal diagnosis receive hospice and palliative care.
The Department has a website dedicated to Palliative and End of Life Care available at www.nj.gov/health/advancedirective. It includes advance directive forms, educational materials, toolkits for completing an advance directive and links to websites with additional information on hospice and palliative care. Advance Directives are an important tool to document preferences for care when an individual can no longer communicate.
Hospice programs provide palliative services to terminally ill patients in the home or at a health care facility, including medical, nursing, social work, volunteer and counseling services.  Hospices provide pain management, symptom control, psychosocial support and spiritual care to patients and their families when a cure is not possible. Palliative care makes these services available earlier in the course of an illness.
The Department of Health licenses more than 70 hospice providers in the state. On the Department’s website, residents can search for licensed hospice programs in New Jersey.
The Department, with the New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA), is working to ensure that patients’ values, beliefs, and goals for care are discussed with health providers, mutually agreed to, and reduced to a medical order, known as the Practitioner Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST).  Earlier this year, the Department and NJHA announced the availability of a new electronic version of the POLST. Previously, POLST was a written form that patients completed in consultation with their physicians or advance practice nurses and stored with either their health providers or in an accessible location so it could be retrieved if needed. Electronic POLST enables access to an online form — via a secure website and mobile devices — so a patient and physician or advance practice nurse can carry out an individual’s wishes, goals of care and medical preferences when facing a life-limiting illness.
National Hospice and Palliative Care Month is sponsored by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), a nonprofit organization representing hospice and palliative care programs and professionals in the United States. The organization is committed to improving end-of-life care and expanding access to hospice care with the goal of enhancing the quality of life for patients with terminal illnesses in America and their loved ones. This year, NHPCO is promoting the Know Your Options campaign to educate both individuals and families about healthcare choices when dealing with a life-limiting illness.
Follow the New Jersey Department of Health on Twitter @njdeptofhealth, Facebook /njdeptofhealth, Instagram @njdeptofhealth and Snapchat @njdoh. 
Last Reviewed: 11/15/2017