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New Jersey Statutes Title 26. Health and Vital Statistics 26 § 2H-130

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The Legislature finds and declares that:

a. Pursuant to the “New Jersey Advance Directives for Health Care Act,” P.L.1991, c. 201 (C.26:2H-53 et seq.), this State has statutorily recognized the right of an adult with decision-making capacity to plan ahead for health care decisions through the execution of advance directives and designate a surrogate decision-maker, and to have the wishes expressed in those documents respected, subject to certain limitations, in order to ensure that the right to control decisions about one's own health care is not lost if a patient loses decision-making capacity and is no longer able to participate actively in making his own health care decisions;

b. The Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment or Practitioner Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, or POLST, form complements an advance directive by converting a person's wishes regarding life-sustaining treatment, such as those set forth in an advance directive, into a medical order;

c. The POLST form:  contains immediately actionable, signed medical orders on a standardized form;  includes medical orders that address a range of life-sustaining interventions as well as the patient's preferred intensity of treatment for each intervention;  is typically a brightly colored, clearly identifiable form;  and is recognized and honored across various health care settings;

d. The use of a POLST form is particularly appropriate for persons who have a compromised medical condition or a terminal illness, and the experience in other states has shown that the use of the POLST form helps these patients to have their health care preferences honored by health care providers;

e. The use of POLST forms can overcome many of the problems associated with advance directives, which in many cases are designed simply to name an individual to make health care decisions for the patient if the latter becomes incapacitated or otherwise lack specificity in regard to the patient's health care preferences, and are often locked away in file drawers or safe deposit boxes and unavailable to health care providers when the need arises to ensure that the patient's wishes are followed;

f. A completed POLST form is signed by, and more readily available than an advance directive to, the patient's attending physician, physician assistant, or advanced practice nurse, and provides a specific and detailed set of instructions for a health care professional or health care institution to follow in regard to the patient's preference for the use of various medical interventions;

g. To date, at least the following states, or communities within these states, have established programs providing for the use of the POLST form that have been endorsed by the National POLST Paradigm Task Force or are in the process of developing such programs:  Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming;  and

h. The right and preference of New Jerseyans to have their health care preferences respected would be better served by the use of the POLST form in this State to augment the use of advance directives, and the enactment of this act will conduce to that end.

Cite this article: - New Jersey Statutes Title 26. Health and Vital Statistics 26 § 2H-130 - last updated February 19, 2021 |

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