New Jerseyans nearing the end of life undergo more aggressive medical treatments than patients in any other state, studies show, and in facilities where care costs an average 20 percent more than elsewhere.
Only three in 10 state residents pass away in the comfort of their own home, despite the wishes of many to avoid dying in a healthcare facility; that’s partly because few have clearly documented how they want to spend their final days or shared that information with family.
The gap between patient goals for end-of-life care and actual outcomes is the focus of growing attention nationwide and in New Jersey whose senior population is 1.35 million.
While state and healthcare providers are working to build a coordinated system to document people’s end-of-life desires, progress has been slow, complicated by personal and cultural concerns about discussing death, technological challenges, and limited training and incentives for the medical professionals involved.
At NJ Spotlight’s first healthcare roundtable of 2019, held at Rutgers University’s New Brunswick campus on March 21, an expert panel discussed how to evolve and improve end-of-life care in the state.
Michael Maron, President and Chief Executive Officer,
Holy Name Medical Center
Cathy Bennett, President and Chief Executive Officer, New Jersey
Corinne A. Carey, Esq., Senior Campaign Director, Compassion & Choices
Dr. Shereef Elnahal, Commissioner, State of New Jersey Department of Health
Christopher Kellogg, MSW, LSW, Founder, Nightingale NJ
Adelisa Perez, MSN, RN-BC, Director of Quality, New Jersey Health Care
Lilo H. Stainton, Healthcare Reporter, NJ Spotlight
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