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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
April 16, 2009

Heather Howard
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Dawn Thomas
(609) 984-7160


 
DHSS Recognizes National Health Care Decisions Day


 

Updated Release with Governor Corzine's proclamation designating April 16, 2009 as National Health Care Decisions Day

 

In recognition of National Health Care Decisions Day, Health and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard today urged New Jersey residents to plan ahead for end-of-life health care decisions.

 

“The best way to retain control of your health in a situation where you are unable to communicate your wishes is to have a written record of your future health care treatment preferences,” Commissioner Howard said. “We encourage residents to prepare an advance directive, which states their health care choices, while they are still healthy and able to make such decisions.”

 

Formal advance directives are documents written in advance of serious illness that express your choices for health care, or name someone to make those choices, if you become unable to make decisions.

 

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, fewer than 50 percent of the severely or terminally ill patients studied had an advance directive in their medical record. A clearly written directive can alleviate some of the burdens of decision making that are often experienced by family members, friends and health care providers.

 

An overwhelming majority of the public supports laws that give patients the right to decide whether they want to be kept alive through medical treatment, the Pew Research Center reported in a 2006 study. The study also found that the public approves of laws—by more than eight-to-one (84%-10%)— that let terminally ill patients make decisions about whether to be kept alive through medical treatment.

 

National Healthcare Decisions Day is designed to encourage patients to express their wishes regarding health care through conversations and the completion of advance directives.  The National Healthcare Decisions Day coalition includes national, state and community organizations. This marks the second year that National Healthcare Decisions Day is being held to bring more attention to end-of-life decision-making.

 

For more information on obtaining an advance directive, please visit: http://nj.gov/health/healthfacilities/documents/ltc/advance_directives.pdf

 

To learn more about National Health Care Decisions Day, please visit:

http://www.nationalhealthcaredecisionsday.org/

To view Governor Corzine's proclamation that proclaims April 16, 2009 as National Health Care Decisions Day please visit: http://nj.gov/health/commiss/documents/national_healthcare_decisions_day09.pdf

 

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