New Jersey S-3116 and S-3117
A new law in New Jersey, effective July 2020, requires all medical facilities to discuss end-of-life issues with patients and provide staff training on advanced and end-of-life care planning. They are also required to provide patients and their families with information about end-of-life care, including information about Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment policies, which are medical orders that govern things like resuscitation and feeding tube decisions. The law also requires the New Jersey Commissioner of Health to establish a public awareness campaign to foster community-wide discussions and to promote early conversations about advance care planning and patient preferences to improve decision-making at the end-of-life. A second bill, effective in August 2020, requires emergency-room personnel to address palliative care options with seriously ill patients. Both bills were passed with bipartisan support.
This legislation is separate from, and far less controversial than, the New Jersey Right to Die law, which took effect in 2019. That law permits terminally ill, adult patients residing in New Jersey to obtain and self-administer medication to end their lives.