A good quality of life starts with a good talk. We can’t predict when a medical emergency or serious illness is going to happen. However, we can prepare ahead for these events by talking about what matters to us with those who matter the most.

In 2014, the Quality Institute created the Conversation of Your Life (COYL) program to develop a community conversation around the kind of care we want to receive and how we can plan ahead. Through the support of task forces across the state, COYL hosts educational community events throughout the year.

Get started by viewing the COYL brochure below to better understand why these conversations are so meaningful. The brochure contains a checklist to help you think about and communicate what matters most to you, practical terms, and resources.

 

Download Brochure in English  Download Brochure in Spanish  Download Brochure in Korean Download Brochure in Polish

 

 

COYL Resources

Below, we compiled trusted resources to help you start thinking about what matters the most to you and to show you how you can approach these conversations. Click on each step to find webinars, one-pagers, digital tools, and more to guide you through these often-difficult conversations.

Step 1: Consider What is Most Important to You

What do I value and want? Find tips and resources, all accessible from home, in our “Preparing for the Unexpected” one-pager to help you start thinking what’s most important to you.

Preparing for the Unexpected One-Pager


Are you a State Health Benefit Program member? Take a look at the COYL & NJ Department of Benefits and Pensions (NJDBP) brochure for vital information on options available to you.

COYL & NJDBP Wellness Brochure


Books and films are great ways to help you get started thinking about your values and preferences. They can also show you how to introduce the topic with those who matter most.

Book Suggestions Film Suggestions

Step 2: Communicate Your Wishes

How do I start the conversation? Use the Conversation Project’s Conversation Starter Kit to talk with those who matter most to you, available in multiple languages.

Conversation Starter Kit



Making medical decisions can be difficult. The Goals of Care Coalition’s 4-step iCare Plan can help you talk with your health care providers.

4-step iCare Plan


Who will be my health care proxy? A health care proxy is someone who makes decisions for you if you become unable to speak for yourself. Watch the Conversation Project’s “Who Will Speak For You” video to begin thinking about who you would ask to be your health care proxy.

Who Will Speak For You Video

Step 3: Create a Written Plan and Share It

How do I document my wishes? Filling out an advance directive is the best way to ensure your wishes are known and followed. Check out the different advance directive forms below and choose the one that is right for you.


Five Wishes is an easy-to-use, complete approach to help you think about not only your medical wishes, but also the spiritual and psychological aspects of care that you want to receive. You don’t need an attorney or provider to complete this form, but you do need two witnesses.

Five Wishes Advance Directive


Create a new advance directive electronically or upload one you already completed for easy sharing through MyDirectives.

My Directives



The Practitioner Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment, or POLST, form ensures those with a life-limiting illness get the care they want. In some states, this form may be called a MOLST. This form must be completed with a doctor, advance practice nurse, or physician assistant.

New Jersey POLST

New York MOLST

Pennsylvania POLST

Additional Resources

Due to COVID-19, all in-person events are currently on hold. COYL will continue to provide you with support and resources through virtual programming. Check out our resources below which cover an array of topics including care options available to you, retirement planning, care for veterans, and more.


Being Prepared Medically and Legally Webinar

Being Prepared: Advance Care Planning at Home, in Your Community, and with your Health Care Provider Webinar

Having the Conversation: The Heart of the Veteran Webinar

All COYL Resources

COYL Task Forces By County

Each county listed below has its own county-wide task force led and run by local trusted community members. Task Force members collaborate to develop, promote, and execute local programming. As a Task Force member, you are part of an essential group of individuals organizing in your community to help people better understand the benefits of advance care planning and the choices available to them.

We are actively recruiting Task Force members for each county. If you are interested in learning more about how you or your community can join the conversation, please contact Dapa Wilcox, Community Coordinator, at 609-452-5980 or dwilcox@njhcqi.org.

ATLANTIC COUNTY

Jerry Barberio – Town of Hammonton

Madeline Bauer – Holey Redeemer Home Care & Hospice

Francis Blee – AtlantiCare

Tammi Cooper – AtlantiCare

Maureen Deely – Shore Medical Center

Stephen DiDonato – Mayor of Hammonton

Trish Donio – AtlantiCare Afterschool Program

Brooke Dowd – Town of Hammonton

Theresa Fahy – AtlantiCare

Anne Filazzola – Unite Here Health

Victor Gazzarra – Bayada

April Gall – Angelic Hospice

Paige Gebhart – Continuum LTC, Galloway Health Center

Lisa Hatrak – New Jersey Action Coalition

Christine Hayek – AtlantiCare

Audrey Heist – AtlantiCare

Carol Hutchinson – Journey Hospice

Nicole Keefer – Diocese of Camden

Dana Lisicki – AtlantiCare

Terri Loncor

Heather Matis – Parsels Funeral Home

Stacey Merkh – Centers Health Care

Susan Miller – Galloway Health Center

Nicole Montone – Deptford Center

Effie Murphy – Alzheimer’s Association, Delaware Valley Chapter

Brooke Neary – Town of Hammonton

Lindsey Petrosh-Delia – Hammonton Center

Nancy Powell – AtlantiCare

Liz Readeau – AtlantiCare

Heather Santabarbara – AtlantiCare

Howard Smith – Hammonton Presbysterian Church

Glen Stoll – AtlantiCare

Katherine Stys – AtlantiCare

Lorraine Thayer – AtlantiCare

Lori Thompson – Compassus Hospice

Sonya Hodge-Yancey – Ascend Health

BERGEN COUNTY

Lani Allison – Regional Cancer Care Associates

Tracy Amauer – Holy Name Medical Center

Nancy Ames – Jewish Home Family

Jessica Arroyo – Woodcrest Health Center

Denise Arzoomanian – Englewood Health

Ari Berger – Holy Name Medical Center

Lisa Blumer – Holy Name Medical Center

Lisa Bontemps – Westwood for All Ages

Dawn Cetrulo – Ridgewood Health Officer

Hee Choi – Holy Name Medical Center

Joy Chung – Family Touch

Jose Contreras – Hackensack University Medical Center

Samantha Corvino – Hackensack Meridian Health

Danielle Cinnante – Valley Health System

Colette Cummings – Valley Health System

Jason Dale – Bergen County Surrogate’s Office

Katherine DeMarco – Hackensack Meridian Health

Joseph DeSalco – Rutherford Borough

Diane Didio – Oradell Borough

Nancy DiGangi – VITAS

Dierdre Dillon – Ramsey

Michael Dressler – Bergen County

Theresa Ebel – Hackensack Meridian Health

Carol Silver Elloitt – Jewish Home Family

Mary Felicia – Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey

Frederik Golz – State Office of LTC

Maryann Graham – Virtua Medical Group

Shari Haber – Great Goodbyes

Hercules Invictus – Invictus

Christine Kim – Holy Name Medical Center

Sunniya Kahn – Hackensack Meridian Health

Euine Kang – JK Communications

Lori Kayne – Norris McLaughlin

Marla Klein – Bergen County Department of Health

Robyn Kohn – Alzheimer’s Association

Kathy Kuzma – North Jersey Villages, Inc.

Susan Linzey – Hackensack Meridian Health

Linda Lohsen – Holy Name Medical Center

Naomi McDermott – Jewish Home Family

Lynn McVey – NJII

Julie Marallo – Tenafly Library

Michelle Merchant – Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey

Judith Migliaccio – Paramus Board of Health

Jodi Murphy – Westwood for All Ages

Lillian Negron-Vasquez – Hackensack University Medical Center

Peggy Niederer – Bergen County Interfaith Council

Evelyn Olsen – Hand in Hand Connections

Ed Piehler – Northvale Borough

Noreen Rathgeber – VNA at Barnabas Health Hospice

Martial Raymond – Regional Cancer Care Associates

Mark Rooney

Peter Rustin – Tenafly Borough

Norman Schmelz – Bergenfield Township

Anne Schneider – Paramus Borough

Shana Siegel – Norris McLaughlin

Kathleen Smole – Valley Hospital

Shelley Steiner – Alzheimer’s Association

Ann Subrizi – Town of New Milford

Jeff Topfer – Tenafly Borough

Carol Trop – Tenafly Borough

Anna Wang – Holy Name Medical Center

Eddie Weiner – Always Best Care

Joanne Wendolowski – Hackensack Meridian Health

Steve Yang – Neighbor Plus

Brook Mariani – Ascend Health

BURLINGTON COUNTY

Sarah Adelman – NJ Department of Human Services

Mary Campagnolo – Virtua

Beth Cohen – Virtua

Ranjna Das – Burlington County Library System

Gayle Dell’Oro – VITAS

Linda Hughes – Burlington County Freeholder

Robert Keltos – Rothamel & Associates, LLC

Angela Maydman – Caring Hands Hospice

Effie Murphy – Alzheimer’s Association, Delaware Valley Chapter

Mary Anne O’Brien – Burlington County Surrogate

Bill O’Byrne

Joanne Rosen – Samaritan

Nicole Staltmayer – VNA Health Group

May Thomas – TPH Scott Counsel

Frank Urbano – Amerihealth NJ

Patricia Ware – Virtua

Melanie Williams – VNA Moorestown

Robert Goldbetter – Ascend Health

CAMDEN COUNTY

Cheryl Austin – Camden County Surrogate’s Office

Charlene Albert

Ann Biondi – Health Department

Judy Calabrese – Gloucester Township

Christine Listick – Ascend Health
Shawn Carter – Inspira Health Network

Sue Cooke – Samaritan

Linda Davis – Harvest Church, Inc.

Lina Gefter – Caring Hands Hospice

Michelle Gentek-Mayer – Camden County Surrogate

Steve Goldfine – Samaritan

Sharon Heath – Inspira Health Network

Jane Knapp – Right at Home

Ray Lopez – Cornerstone Foundation of Hope

Tanya McKeown – Jefferson Health

Andrea McManus – Gloucester Township

Caynne Mandes

Kelly Mathews – Gloucester Township

Marie Matz – The Foundations at Cedar Parke

Mayor Dave Mayer – Gloucester Township

Diana Mears Ritz – Moorestown VNA

Angela Meydman – Caring Hands Hospice

Anna Miller – VITAS

Suzanne Moore – Camden County Surrogate’s Office

Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera – Gloucester Township

Effie Murphy – Alzheimer’s Association

Victor Murray – Camden Coalition

Joanne Rosen – Samaritan

Neil Rosen – Rowan University

Susan Trotman – Manor Care

Tracey Trotto – American Cancer Society

Frank Urbano – Amerihealth NJ

Chris Waldron – Camden County

ESSEX COUNTY

Sheree Bennett – Physician

Meredith Blank – Nutley Health Department

Margaret Brodowski – Township of Montclair

Ellen Coughlin – Hackensack Meridian Hospice

Ashley Crews – Township of Montclair

Patricia Cruz – Township of Nutley

Deborah Day – United Way NNJ

Deborah Delvecchio – Chrill Care

Christine Filippini – VNA

Lindsey Herrera – Township of Nutley

Marianne Holler – VNA of Central Jersey

Lori Kayne – Norris McLaughlin

Ellen Koehler – Barnabas Health Home Care & Hospice

Anna Kirschblum

Megan Knight – Barnabas Health

Kim Lewis – Township of Nutley

Caren Martineau – Bevival

Ruth Mayer

Louis Monticchio – VNAHG Barnabas Home Care & Hospice

Isabel Montoya – VNAHG Barnabas Home Care & Hospice

Stacie Newton – Clara Maass Medical Center

Donna Plotnik – Oasis Senior Advisors

Dina Pressel – Township of Montclair

Norren Rathgeber – Barnabas Health Home Care & Hospice

Wanda Rodriguez – Barnabas Health Home Care & Hospice

Cathy Rowe – Township of Maplewood

Marisol Santana – La Casa de Don Pedro

Debra Sheridan – RWJBH/VNA Home Care & Hospice

Shana Siegel – Norris McLaughlin

Tacy Silverberg-Urian – VNA Barnabas Hospice

Katie York – Township of Montclair

Brook Mariani – Ascend Health

GLOUCESTER COUNTY

Charlene Albert

Diane Bassett – Bayada at Inspira Woodbury

Karen Boucher – West Deptford Public Library

Kevin Elsey – Bayada

Debra Gabrieli

Melody Gray – Inspira Health Network Woodbury

Sherry Gross – Bayada at Inspira Woodbury

Shawn Harris – Inspira Health Network

Sharon Heath – Inspira Health Network Woodbury

Cheryl Karwoski – Inspira Health Network

Jane Knapp

Lauren Koloski – Inspira Health Network

Sandi Lynch – Bayada at Inspira Woodbury

Leona Mather – Gloucester County

Robin Megow – Mullica Hill Library

Mathew Miller – VITAS

Bernadette Murphy – Inspira Health Network

Effie Murphy – Alzheimer’s Association, Delaware Valley Chapter

Gia Ruiz – Inspira Health Network

Hal Russell – Inspira Health Network Woodbury

Mary Anne Serra – CC Medica Hospice

Jen Tomasetti – Angelic Palliative & Hospice Care

Susan Trotman – Manorcare

Christine Listick – Ascend Health

HUDSON COUNTY

Ruddys Andrade

Andrea Drenzek – Office on Aging, Hudson County Department of Health & Human Services

Joan Eccleston – Jersey City Department of Health & Human Services

Carina Escolastico – Jersey City Department of Health & Human Services

Lazara paz Gonzalea – HQSI

Stacey Flanagan – Jersey City Department of Health & Human Services

Tania Fuentes – CEI

Jennifer May – Secaucus Public Library

Brian Poffel – Office on Aging, Hudson County Department of Health & Human Services

Cristal Soriano – Divine Konektions

Susan Walsh – RWJBH Jersey City Medical Center

Sharnia Williams – RWJBarnabas Health

HUNTERDON COUNTY

Susan Bauman – Hunterdon Hospice

Kim Blanda – Hunterdon Regional Community Health

James Curcio

Margaret Doyle – Hunterdon Hospice

Mike Eisenhart – Pro-Activity, Basecamp 31

William Healey – Hunterdon Healthcare Foundation

Heather Koenig

Lisa LaCarruba – Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey

Andrea Medina – Hunterdon Mercer Chronic Disease Coaltion

Shawna Mehall – Hunterdon Hospice

Erinn Nakahara – Hunterdon Hospice

Sara Nelson – Hunterdon Hospice

Don Pinner – Hunterdon Healthcare

Geralyn Prosswimmer – Hunterdon Hospice

Christine Pilkington – Ascend Health

MERCER COUNTY

Mayor Paul Anzano – Hopewell Township

David Barile – Goals of Care Coalition

Melanie Basil – Scott Bloom Law Office

Marygrace Billek – Mercer County Human Services

Scott Bloom – Scott Bloom Law Office

John Cambria – JC Complete PT

Carol Chamberlain – Lawrence Township

James Chambers – Mercer County

Kathryn Collins – New Jersey Hospital Association

James Cozine – VITAS

MaryJane Darbee – Mercer Home Health Care

George DiFerdinon – Rutgers School of Public Health

Beth Englezon – Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County

Lori Feldstein – Goals of Care Coalition

Diane Gerofsky – Mercer County Surrogate

JoAnn Groeger

Jeff Grosser – Town of Princeton

Patricia Hall – Trenton Downtown Association

Deb Hallisey

Kathryn Harris – Princeton Hospice

Janet Hayden – LIFE St. Francis

Aline Holmes – New Jersey Hospital Association

Ann King-Musza – Akin Care Senior Services

Kathy Korwin – Greater Mercer Public Health Partnership

Mayor Liz Lempert – Town of Princeton

Victor Medina – Medina Law Group

Lisa Mihalyi – Holy Redeemer Home Care & Hospice

Liz Muoio

Carol Nicholas – Greater Mercer Public Health Partnership

Eimly Sayed – TCNJ

Linda Schwimmer – New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute

Vikranta Sharma – VNA Health Group

Nancy Sobin

Nicole Staltmayer – Mercer Home Health Care

Ted Taylor – RWJ University Hospital Hamilton

Lisa Thomas – Morris Hall

Julie Willmot – Mercer County

Jessica Winters – Mercer Home Health

Jean Withers – JFK Hospice

Anne Zeman – Hopewell Township

Robert Goldbetter – Ascend Health

MIDDLESEX COUNTY

MaryJane Brubaker – HQSI

Amar Bukhari

Miriam Cohen

Susan Delgado-Rodriguez – VITAS

Maureen Erwin – JFK

Christine Fillipini – JFK

Jedidah Gitahi

Kimberly Gittens – American Cancer Society

Tracy Grafton – Haven Hospice at JFK

Renee Haider – Sustainable Jersey

Mathew Hersch – Highland Park

Sherry Johnson – Highland Park Public Library

Jennifer Larsen – Sayreville Public Library

Michele Morgan – Woodbridge Division of Multi-Service Program on Aging

Linda Mundie – The Gardens at Monroe

Cynthia Myers – Wellcare

Patyy Nugent – JFK

Morgan Park

C.L. Quillen – Clark Public Library

Joy Robinson – Piscataway Public Library

Neel Shah

Shira Stern

Kristine Thomson – American Cancer Society

Allison Weitz – JFK

Allison Wisniewski – Woodbridge Twp Division of Multi Services

Jean Withers – JFK

Jennifer Dral – Ascend Health

MONMOUTH COUNTY

Melissa Alexander

Jeffrey Anderson – Centrastate Medical Center

Maureen Bowe – Monmouth Medical Center

Kristen Coppola – RWJ Medical School

Elizabeth Corsentino – Center for Hope

Debra Cox – Grace Healthcare Services

Sharon Douglas – Freehold Clergy Association

Brandon Elsershaw – Centrastate

Marjorie Forgana – Wellcare

Rosemary Gorman – Monmouth Medical Center

Stephanie Hall – Monmouth University

Christa Hogan – Monmouth University

Jessica Israel – Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health

Ryan Killeen

Kathy McKean

Barbara Paskewich – Monmouth University

Katherine Poznanski – Centrastate

Susan Rodriguez – VITAS

Elisa Rossetti – HQSI

Kristen Ruscil – Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus

Vikranta Sharma – VNA Health Group

Meredith Smith – Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey

Patricia Starke – HMH Ocean Medical Center

Janice Willett – Centrastate

Jennifer Dral – Ascend Health

MORRIS COUNTY

Catherine Abbott – St. Clare’s Hospital

Scott Bradley – Bradley & Son Funeral Homes, LLC

Austin Bremner – Bradley & Son Funeral Homes, LLC

John Crouthamel – Tri-town 55 Plus

Margaret Dolan – VITAS

Mary Donovick – St. Clare’s Hospital

Victoria Fife – Chatham Borough

Brian George

Wendy Long – St. Clare’s Hospital

Linda Melillo – St. Clare’s Hospital

Ron Mowad – Bradley & Son Funeral Homes, LLC

Amy Nealy – NJ Elderlaw Center

Janice Piccolo – Chatham Borough

Christine Pilkington – Ascend Health

OCEAN COUNTY

Kathryn Collins – New Jersey Hospital Association

Joyce Fields – Southern Ocean Medical Center

Tracy Grafton – Ocean Medical Center

Robyn Kohn – Alzheimer’s Association

Sonya Hodge-Yancey – Ascend Health

Donna Schwartzman – Seacrest Village

Patricia Starke – Ocean Medical Center

Corey Viola – Compassionate Care Hospice

SOMERSET COUNTY

Adalin Ball – Somerset County Office on Aging and Disability Services

Marcela Dunham – Somerset County Library System

Madelyn English – Bernardsville Library

Francine Hoh – Always Think Comfort Palliative Care

Beth Jameson – Seton Hall

Lori Leotta – Beacon Health Options

Sara Nelson – Hunterdon Hospice

Kristen Schiro – Bridgewater Township

Pauline Seitz – St. Charles Parish

Joan Serpico – Franklin Township Library

Rita Swborowski – Bridgewater Township

Jody Sheppard – VITAS

Robert Goldbetter – Ascend Health

UNION COUNTY

Valerie Anderson – Baptist Church

Lucy Ankrah – Trinitas

Stephanie Bakis – Berkeley Heights Public Library

Adam Beder – Hackensack Meridian Health JFK

Suzie Crincoli

Lama El Zein – Summit Medical Group

Maureen Erwin – Hackensack Meridian Health JFK

Barry Good – Plainfield

Stacy Kaplan – Center for Hope Hospice

Megan Kociolek – Clark Public Library

Atif Nazir – Plainfield Health Department

JoAnn Pietro – Pietro Law Firm

Michele Schroeder – Hartwyck Cedarbrook

Marsha Senior – Recovery/Prime

Yvette Vieira – Atlantic Health

Jennifer Dral – Ascend Health

In 2018, the Quality Institute, with generous support from The Nicholson Foundation, and in consultation with many of our member organizations and subject matter experts, released the End-of-Life Care Strategic Plan for New Jersey. This comprehensive strategic plan focuses on four key avenues to improve end-of-life care in New Jersey: Technology, Payment, Education, and Culture. We hope you will read our plan and join our effort to improve the universal journey each one of us will take one day.

 

Read Our End-of-Life Care Strategic Plan