PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
November 28, 2012

Mary E. O'Dowd, M.P.H.
Commissioner

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

Christie Administration Recognizes National Hospice and Palliative Care Month

Reminds Residents to Plan for End-of-Life Care

November's National Hospice and Palliative Care Month provides an opportunity to recognize hospice providers and professionals for their outstanding service to terminally ill patients and their loved ones.

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.

"End of life is a difficult time for both patients and families-through hospice programs in our state they receive compassionate, supportive care," said Health Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd.  "The best way to ensure that dignity and autonomy are honored is by regularly sharing your wishes about palliative and end-of-life medical treatment with your family and primary care provider so that these issues are not confronted for the first time during a medical crisis."

The Department's web site at www.nj.gov/health/advancedirective, includes advance directive forms, educational materials, toolkits for completing an advance directive and links to web sites with additional information on hospice and palliative care.

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 profoundly enhancing the quality of life for people dying in America and their loved ones.  

Medicare and Medicaid, as well as most private insurers, cover hospice services.  For a complete listing of licensed hospice programs in New Jersey, go to www.state.nj.us/health/healthfacilities/search.shtml.