April 4, 2013
DATE: April 4, 2013
CONTACT: Roxanne Debski- Seigel
Karen Ann Quinlan Memorial Foundation
Offices in Newton NJ & Milford PA.
TOLL FREE: 800-882-1117
PHOTO: Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice Social Worker Jacqui Gieske, MSW, LSW, holds the packet that will be distributed on Health Care Decisions Day at the Hospice offices, 99 Sparta Ave, Newton, and 104 Bennett Ave, Suite 2A-2 in Milford, and at Newton Medical Center. To reach either office of Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice, call 800-882-1117 for more information.
Newton, NJ – April 4, 2013 – As National Healthcare Decisions Day approaches (Tuesday, April 16), the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization stresses the importance of patients and families talking frankly about the care they would or would not want if ever faced with a serious medical condition or life-limiting illness.
The living will or as it is also known, advance directives stemmed from the Karen Ann Quinlan case of 1976. In 1975, New Jersey woman, Karen Ann fell inexplicably into a coma resulting with a prognosis of no hope for recovery. The Quinlans, Julia and Joseph, in order to have their daughter Karen Ann released from extraordinary means of life support, took their battle to the NJ Supreme court and won the case. But it was a case won for all of us, as it paved the way for our right to die with dignity, and to live our lives unfettered by extreme medical treatments if that was our choice.
A study by The Dartmouth Institute found that many physicians feel compelled to treat terminal illnesses aggressively resulting in patients dying in the hospital. Given that the majority of Americans would prefer to be at home at the end of life raises concerns that Americans may be getting more invasive care at life’s end than is desired, resulting in diminished quality of life. It is that quality of end of life that can be decided in advance with a living will.
NHPCO, along with other national, state, and community organizations, is raising awareness of the importance of advance healthcare decision making. This includes completing an advance directive (also known as a living will) and appointing a healthcare power of attorney (someone to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to speak for yourself). However, equally important are the conversations with family and loved ones about healthcare preferences and choices.
You can begin by asking yourself these basic questions: On a scale of 1 to 5, with #1 being “Let me die without medical intervention to #5, “Don’t give up on me no matter what…try anything, proven or unproven.” Where would you fall?
It would be reasonable to say that most of us fall somewhere in the middle. “I would like some medical intervention such as pain relief but not kept alive through extraordinary means such as a respirator.”
Then choose from the following: I would prefer to die… (a) In a hospital (b) skilled institution (c) at home (d) I’m not sure
Answer Yes or No below:
Once you have established your preferences, it is important to have the discussion with your loved ones so if and when that time comes, your family will have benefited knowing how to proceed to make sure you are given the care you wished for at life’s end. For families who have not “had the conversation”, it is very challenging for them to be assured they are making the right decisions on your behalf.
Thinking about what would be important to you in a medical crisis and making your wishes known to loved ones is what National Healthcare Decisions Day is all about – regardless of age or health status.
The Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice has made available packets to the community every year on this day since its national inception in 2008. To pick up a 2013 packet you may visit either the NJ office located at located at 99 Sparta Ave in Newton or their PA office at 104 Bennett Ave, Suite 2A-2 in Milford between the hours of 9-4pm. To reach either office you may call 800-882-1117.
This year a representative from the Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice will be at Newton Medical Center from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on April 16th with informational packets available on Advance Directives and Hospice.
For more information about National Healthcare Decision Day, please visit www.nationalhealthcaredecisionsday.org or the NHPCO’s Caring Connections, www.CaringInfo.org; a trusted source of information and tools regarding advance care planning and talking with physicians and loved ones; state-specific advance directive forms are also available for download free of charge
Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice has been dedicated to providing optimum hospice care to patients and their families for over 30 years and serves Northwest NJ and Northeast PA, with two offices: 99 Sparta Ave Newton, NJ 07860 and 104 Bennett Avenue Suite2A-2 Milford, PA 18337. The Joseph T. Quinlan Bereavement Center is part of Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice and provides bereavement services to patient’s families as well as to the community with two office locations; the main office is located at 61 Spring Street Lower Level Suite 100 Newton, NJ 07860 with a second location at 214 Washington Street Hackettstown, NJ 07840. The bereavement center also holds grief support groups and programs in Pike County, PA. For locations or more information on any of the above services visit www.karenannquinlanhospice.org or call at 800-882-1117.