The inaugural Rutgers-Eagleton/New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute Health Matters Poll, a periodic survey of Garden State attitudes on health care related issues, found that the majority of New Jerseyans have thought about, and even discussed, plans for end-of-life care, but fewer have completed any sort of advance directive.

The poll found that 61 percent of New Jerseyans say they are comfortable thinking about the idea of getting older; 19
percent are not comfortable with it but still think about it, and 17 percent would rather not think about it
at all.

A similarly solid majority has thought about their wishes for end-of-life care (33 percent have
given some thought, another 33 percent a great deal), and 62 percent have had a conversation with
someone about it in the event they become terminally ill or are suffering from a great deal of pain.

But six in 10 New Jerseyans have not put their wishes in writing. And while most residents (78
percent) are familiar with hospice care and half (50 percent) know of the New Jersey State Advance
Directive, far fewer recognize other crucial end-of-life care options like palliative care (45 percent), the, living will advance directive “Five Wishes” (24 percent), or the Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment form known as POLST (27 percent).

People care and think about end-of-life plans, but they are not taking action and are mostly unaware of what opportunities are available,” said Linda Schwimmer, president and CEO of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute. “This issue is critical to New Jersey, a state where people are more likely to die in a health care facility and less likely to use hospice services than residents of almost any other state. New Jersey has among the highest use of medical interventions in the last six months of life.”

 

Find the full press release and poll response summary here.