Gov. Phil Murphy
Gov. Phil Murphy

Assisted living communities, memory care communities, nursing homes and hospitals treating older adults in New Jersey have new end-of-life care training and policy requirements under a bill signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Phil Murphy.

“We have to consider the needs of our aging population and find a way to provide them with compassionate care wherever they are in their lives,” said Assemblywoman Tucker, a Democrat and one of the sponsors of A.B. 4683 / S. 3116. “We should be helping them plan ahead to ensure their needs are met in their final years,” she added.

The bill requires the facilities to:

  • require administrative and professional medical staff to undergo annual education about advance care planning, end-of life care and Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) forms;
  • provide residents / patients and their families, as appropriate, with educational materials about POLST forms, advance directives, and hospice and palliative care; and 
  • implement policies to identify and address end-of-life issues upon residents’ / patients’ move in / admission.

Those facilities that do not comply with the law face possible license suspension.

“Many people never learn about or give much thought to the kind of care they will want towards the end of their lives, which may be something that greatly impacts their well-being,” said Assemblywoman Speight, a Democrat who also was a bill sponsor. “It’s important for patients to have conversations about what they want their final stages of life to look like and for caregivers to be equipped with the knowledge they need to make that happen.”