DOH Home  >>  Press Releases
PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
April 16, 2009

Heather Howard

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:


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

To view Governor Corzine's proclamation that proclaims April 16, 2009 as National Health Care Decisions Day please visit:



Previous Screen


Department of Health

P. O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
Our Locations
Privacy policy, terms of use and contact form links State Privacy Notice legal statement DOH Feedback Page New Jersey Home

OPRA- Open Public RecordAct
department: njdoh home | index by topic | programs/services
statewide:njhome | services A to Z  | Departments/Agencies | FAQs
Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996-