Bereavement Center makes move to new, permanent home

Joseph T. Quinlan Bereavement Center now located on 5 Plains Road in Augusta, NJ

(AUGUSTA, NJ) – The Joseph T. Quinlan Bereavement Center will take occupancy in its new, permanent home on April 1, 2017. Formerly located on 61 Spring Street in Newton, the Bereavement Center will now be located on 5 Plains Road in Augusta in the former Moonlight Imaging building.
The public is invited to an open house at the new location on April 12 from 3 – 6 p.m. Light refreshment will be served and attendees will get a tour of the new center and learn about the programs that will be offered there.
The new Bereavement Center in Augusta is central headquarters for the bereavement program with satellite centers located on 214 Washington Street in Hackettstown and at the United Methodist Church, on Ann Street in Milford, PA.

“We want to thank everyone who has helped to make this move possible,” said Cecelia Clayton, MPH, Executive Director at Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice.
“We’ve come a long way since the opening of the first bereavement center at the St. James Episcopal Church in Hackettstown. This move will enable us to further serve the growing need for bereavement counseling in our community,” said Clayton. 

Clayton, formerly Director of Bereavement, initiated many of the organization’s bereavement programs that are still in effect today.
In 2000, Clayton realized a need in the community for bereavement counseling, and not wanting to limit these groups to only hospice families, presented a proposal to the hospice Board of Directors to create the Joseph T. Quinlan Bereavement Center, named after Karen Ann Quinlan’s father, who along with his wife Julia were founders of the hospice. Joseph Quinlan died on December 7, 1996.
The Joseph T. Quinlan Bereavement Center, utilizing space offered to the hospice by St. James Episcopal Church, opened its doors on April 2, 2000 in Hackettstown, NJ.  The opening of the Hackettstown office assured that bereavement programs would be available not only to hospice families, but to anyone in the Warren County community who was grieving a loss through death.
Bereavement counseling was also offered at the hospice administrative offices located on 99 Sparta Avenue, before officially opening a second location of the Joseph T. Quinlan Bereavement Center at 61 Spring Street in 2011.

“We are very excited to start this new chapter, where we can offer our services in a beautiful and comforting setting. The Bereavement Center is a not-for-profit agency that offers services not only to hospice families, but to our community as well. We are the only bereavement center in the state that offers full bereavement and anticipatory grief services,” said Diana Sebzda, MA, LPC, FT, Director of Bereavement.
“Our services are completed funded by donations from the community. We are proud to say that we never turn anyone away regardless of their ability to pay. Services include individual grief counseling, Coping with Loss Support Groups, Children Art Bereavement Programs, Pet Loss Support Groups, workshops for school professionals, workshops to teach facilitating your own support group, and so much more,” said Sebzda.

“In 2016, we offered individual counseling to more than 1,484 people from the Spring Street office, that doesn’t include the number of people that attended group support meetings at that location,” said Sebzda. 
“We simply outgrew the Spring Street location. We needed additional private rooms for one-on-one counseling, a large conference room for workshop space, staff meetings and in-service seminars, smaller classrooms for webinars and staff training and a special room dedicated to families and play therapy,” said Sebdza. 
“We are always developing new programs. A new facility with better visibility in the community, better parking, and a centralized location will help us to have meetings and events on the weekends, and evenings and attract more volunteers. We will continue to build upon the excellent programs that we currently offer.”
“We are at 50% of our goal to raise $350,000 to fund the new center. We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the campaign so far. Meeting our fundraising goal will ensure that we can continue to offer support groups, scholarships for children’s bereavement art programs and more in a safe, comfortable and caring environment,” said Clayton.
Those who wish to donate or have questions about the campaign can contact John Quinlan, Director of Foundation, at 973-383-0115 ext. 148 or visit the hospice website at 

Film Explores End-of-Life Care

Free Screening of ‘Being Mortal’ on April 19, 2017

Newton Theatre and Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice are holding a free, community screening of the documentary “Being Mortal” on April 19, 6 p.m. at Newton Theatre on 234 Spring Street in Newton. After the screening, audience members can participate in a guided conversation on how to take concrete steps to identify and communicate wishes about end-of-life goals and preferences.

“Being Mortal” delves into the hopes of patients and families facing terminal illness. The film investigates the practice of caring for the dying and explores the relationships between patients and their doctors. It follows a surgeon, Dr. Atul Gawande, as he shares stories from the people and families he encounters. When Dr. Gawande’s own father gets cancer, his search for answers about how best to care for the dying becomes a personal quest. The film sheds light on how a medical system focused on a cure often leaves out the sensitive conversations that need to happen so a patient’s true wishes can be known and honored at the end.

“Being Mortal” underscores the importance of people planning ahead and talking with family members about end-of-life decisions.

Seventy percent of Americans say they would prefer to die at home, but nearly 70 percent die in hospitals and institutions. Ninety percent of Americans know they should have conversations about end-of-life care, yet only 30 percent have done so.

The free screening is made possible by a grant from The John and Wauna Harman Foundation in partnership with the Hospice Foundation of America.

For more information about the free screening, contact Lee Ellison, Director of Marketing at Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice at 973-383-0115 or Attendees can also register on our website at

Download Advance Directive Forms

What are Advance Directives?

Download an advance directive for your state:
New Jersey
Other States

Click here for a guide on choosing a health care proxy.

A living will allows you to document your wishes concerning medical treatments at the end of life.

Before your living will can guide medical decision-making two physicians must certify:

You are unable to make medical decisions,
You are in the medical condition specified in the state’s living will law (such as “terminal illness” or “permanent unconsciousness”),
Other requirements also may apply, depending upon the state.
A medical power of attorney (or healthcare proxy) allows you to appoint a person you trust as your healthcare agent (or surrogate decision maker), who is authorized to make medical decisions on your behalf.

Before a medical power of attorney goes into effect a person’s physician must conclude that they are unable to make their own medical decisions. In addition:

If a person regains the ability to make decisions, the agent cannot continue to act on the person’s behalf.
Many states have additional requirements that apply only to decisions about life-sustaining medical treatments.
For example, before your agent can refuse a life-sustaining treatment on your behalf, a second physician may have to confirm your doctor’s assessment that you are incapable of making treatment decisions.
What Else Do I Need to Know?

Advance directives are legally valid throughout the United States. While you do not need a lawyer to fill out an advance directive, your advance directive becomes legally valid as soon as you sign them in front of the required witnesses. The laws governing advance directives vary from state to state, so it is important to complete and sign advance directives that comply with your state’s law. Also, advance directives can have different titles in different states.
Emergency medical technicians cannot honor living wills or medical powers of attorney. Once emergency personnel have been called, they must do what is necessary to stabilize a person for transfer to a hospital, both from accident sites and from a home or other facility. After a physician fully evaluates the person’s condition and determines the underlying conditions, advance directives can be implemented.
One state’s advance directive does not always work in another state. Some states do honor advance directives from another state; others will honor out-of-state advance directives as long as they are similar to the state’s own law; and some states do not have an answer to this question. The best solution is if you spend a significant amount of time in more than one state, you should complete the advance directives for all the states you spend a significant amount of time in.
Advance directives do not expire. An advance directive remains in effect until you change it. If you complete a new advance directive, it invalidates the previous one.
You should review your advance directives periodically to ensure that they still reflect your wishes. If you want to change anything in an advance directive once you have completed it, you should complete a whole new document.

Understanding Hospice Care

What is hospice care? Hospice focuses on caring, not curing and in most cases care is provided in the patient’s home. Hospice care also is provided in freestanding hospice centers, hospitals, and nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Hospice services are available to patients of any age, religion, race, or illness. Hospice care is covered under Medicare, Medicaid, most private insurance plans, HMOs, and other managed care organizations.


Sorting out hospice care myths

In the living room, a grandfather laughs and plays video games with his granddaughters. Later, he joins the rest of his family to say grace before enjoying a meal together. Moments like these may seem ordinary to most. Would it surprise you to know that this grandfather, Robert, is dying and on hospice care?

Many people think that being on hospice means lying in a bed, barely conscious. Robert is a patient who proves that is not case. Many of his final moments were anything but ordinary, and they would not have been possible without the help of hospice.

Robert’s experience is not unique. The mission of Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice is to provide specialized care for end-of-life patients and their families. More simply, hospice care supports living one’s life to the fullest with dignity regardless of how much time remains.

When Robert was diagnosed with cancer, he “wondered if there was any chance of getting my quality of life back while I was still alive.” His answer, “I knew at that moment it was time to call hospice.”

Here are some of the common myths of hospice that need to be put to rest:

MYTH: Hospice care means leaving home.
FACT: Hospice services can be provided in a patient’s own home, a nursing home, long-term care facility or a hospice care center.
Hospice is not a place. In fact, hospice services can be provided to a terminally ill patient and his or her family wherever they are most comfortable, or wherever they consider “home.” Robert’s wish was to make sure he was able to stay home at the end of his life. Hospice made it possible for Robert’s son, Eric, and his family to move into Robert’s home and enjoy dinner together four to five times each week.

MYTH: Hospice means forgoing all medical treatment.
FACT: Hospice nurses and physicians are experts in the latest medications and devices for pain and symptom relief.
In every case, a hospice provider will assess the needs of the patient, deciding which medications and equipment are needed for maximum comfort. For example, Robert’s medical staff provided sleep medication to help him through the night. “I am speaking from the heart when I say hospice provides not only superb medical care, but also offers compassion that I would not have gotten anywhere else,” Robert said.

MYTH: Hospice means strangers care for you.
FACT: Hospice provides a dedicated team of specialists to suit the needs of each patient and educate family members to serve as caregivers.
Hospice organizations strive to educate family members to serve as the primary caregivers for an end-of- life patient. In addition, “The doctors, nurses, aides, social workers, therapists and chaplains who make up my hospice team are there whenever I need them,” Robert said, “All I have to do is pick up the phone and someone from hospice is there to help.”

MYTH: Hospice care ends when someone dies.
FACT: Hospice organizations offer bereavement services for all ages.
Hospice counseling services that deal specifically with grief and coping after the loss of a loved one are available at no cost for up to a year after someone dies. Robert’s son, Eric, credits hospice as something that he and his family can always look back and reflect on in a positive way.

MYTH: People on hospice are in bed, waiting to die.
FACT: Hospice enables special moments and memories at the end of a life that would otherwise not happen.

Robert called hospice because he wanted to live happily and with dignity, restoring a quality of life that he would have otherwise lost to invasive treatments and surgeries. In a final letter chronicling his hospice experience, Robert wrote, “If I inspire others to call hospice, I know I’ve made a difference.”

To learn more about how hospice can help you and your family please call Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice at 973-383-0115.

Julia’s 90th Birthday Celebration – Photo Gallery

Julia Quinlan, co-founder and President of Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice recently celebrated her 90th birthday at the Annual High Tea for Hospice on February 23, 2017. The event, hosted by Friends of Hospice was held at the Lake Mohawk Country Club. We would like to thank all who attended for making the day extra special for Julia.

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