Aid in Dying for Terminally Ill Act Now in Effect

by Margie Barham, MBA, Director, Public Relations and Giving, Angelic Health

The New Jersey’s Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act takes effect August 1. This legislation does not take suicide lightly, and has incorporated numerous caveats and requirements a patient must first meet before being able to secure medications specific to end their lives. (details at nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/new-jersey-s-aid-dying-the-terminally-ill-act.html )

As a hospice provider we are keenly aware of the pain and suffering of the terminally ill. Our goal, first and foremost to improve quality of life, control pain, and give the patient and family quality time together. We provide palliative care to ease suffering; and encourage those facing incurable and life-threatening illnesses to consider hospice care. Our experience tells us that it can make a difference, and our values guide us as we care for and support our patients and their families.

There are conventional and alternative treatments that can ease suffering and allow patients to spend their final days in peace with loved ones. As an organization, we advocate for continued research into non-narcotic medications to ease intolerable symptoms that lead people to seek to end their lives. As providers of hospice care we do all we can to ease suffering, but we will not assist in a patient’s choice to end a life.We feel that assisting someone in the process of obtaining or taking medications to prematurely end their life conflicts with our values of comfort and care.

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