C. Elizabeth Leach
Project Management Consultant
New Jersey Goals of Care
For Immediate Releaes: April 12, 2013
(Atlantic City, N.J.) New Jersey Goals of Care (NJGOC), a Princeton-based non-profit organization committed to empowering elder patients, has launched a two-year initiative at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City and Galloway to address patients’ goals of care and health literacy. The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey provided a generous grant of $25,000 to New Jersey Goals of Care to fund the first year of the Goals of Care Provider Training Service for AtlantiCare, aimed at enhancing care at the bedside and when transitioning patients to home or other facilities.
“We are delighted to partner with New Jersey Goals of Care and to advance the interest of health literacy and empowerment,” said Jonathan Pearson, Executive Director of The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey. “The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey is dedicated to providing needed resources to charitable organizations making an impact in the lives of people across New Jersey.”
The Goals of Care Provider Training Service for AtlantiCare involves a consulting and training initiative specially adapted and customized to the communications needs of AtlantiCare’s clinical teams and skilled nursing facility (SNF) pilot partners.
The focus of the program is on goals of care-specific health literacy, as well as patient education concerning self-care and living better with chronic conditions and/or improving end-of-life decision-making. The initiative will measure the effectiveness of communication on care transitions during and following hospitalizations. “We are pleased to partner with New Jersey Goals of Care on this initiative,” said Lori Herndon, RN, executive vice president, AtlantiCare, and president and CEO, AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center. “This initiative—along with other AtlantiCare strategies—will enhance the quality and efficiency of the care we provide.”
A key component of the initiative will be the roll-out of the standardized statewide POLST (Practitioner’s Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) form, which is being introduced across New Jersey after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed the Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment Act (“POLST Act”) into law in December, 2011. The law calls for the creation of a standardized Practitioner Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form that is signed by a patient’s attending physician or advanced practice nurse and provides instructions for health care personnel to follow for a range of life-prolonging interventions. This form becomes part of a patient’s medical records, following the patient from one healthcare setting to another, including hospital, home, nursing home, or hospice.
New Jersey Goals of Care developed an original POLST form to make patient goals of care come first on this form and ultimately serve as a fulcrum for culture change in health care in New Jersey and beyond. In fact, David Barile, MD, CEO and chief medical officer, New Jersey Goals of Care, was a member of the New Jersey Hospital Association Committee that developed the form the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services recently introduced. Healthcare providers and consumers can download the form and find additional information at www.njha.com/POLST. Barile will provide expertise and leadership, especially in relation to partner training and consultation.
“The grant is of enormous importance for advancing the POLST initiative in New Jersey,” said Barile. “The POLST pilot that is attached to the Goals of Care Provider Training will be the first of its kind in southern New Jersey and will greatly assist physicians, the health care team and their patients as they transition across health care settings. NJGOC has already consulted with Princeton HealthCare System and nine skilled nursing facilities partners in Central New Jersey on a similar project. PHCS’s program—Partnerships for Patient-Centered, Integrative Elder Care and Empowerment—was funded through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s New Jersey Health Initiatives program as well as the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation. Early outcomes of this preliminary project have gained national attention and garnered a Project of Promise Award from Jackson Healthcare’s Hospital Charitable Service Awards, which provided a total of fifteen awards from over 190 applicants nationwide. NJGOC expects the initiative with AtlantiCare to involve newly introduced, innovative approaches that are increasingly considered best practices. PHCS has graciously agreed to help with the information technology aspects of creating an electronic version of the POLST form for AtlantiCare’s purposes. I am heartened by the growing cooperation among healthcare facilities for the betterment of our patients as we face challenges together in a rapidly changing national healthcare landscape.”
In addition to AtlantiCare, New Jersey Goals of Care, will consult with several long-term-care skilled nursing facility partners that care for patients discharged from AtlantiCare who need lower acuity care. These partners will participate in and benefit from consultation, training, continuing education, and ongoing performance improvement processes. All partners will be expected to share data in the patient registry.
“DePaul Healthcare Systems at Absecon Manor and Mainland Manor is excited to participate with AtlantiCare and New Jersey Goals of Care as we strive to improve communication and patient decision making through training of our healthcare workers and education of the public on POLST,” said Barbara Sorrentino, chief operations officer, DePaul Healthcare Systems. “This initiative will help to continue strengthening the relationship between our facilities by fostering understanding and cooperation as we strive to achieve a common goal. We share AtlantiCare’s commitment to providing the best possible care to those we serve.”
About NJGOC: Elder patients typically spend many weeks or months of their final years in hospitals. Seldom, however, do hospital providers have bedside discussions with them about their personal goals of care. New Jersey Goals of Care (NJGOC) was founded to address this problem, setting new standards for elder care and treatment. New Jersey ranks the highest in the nation for health care dollars spent on Medicare beneficiaries. Seniors in New Jersey can expect to see more doctors and undergo more tests during their final years of life than in any other state. While this high level of service may sound beneficial, the data shows health outcomes for New Jersians are actually no better, and perhaps worse, when compared to other states. Unnecessary, burdensome care involving aggressive treatments or inadequate treatment is frequently out of sync with patients' wishes.
Our Goal: New Jersey Goals of Care (NJ GOC) seeks to achieve a much-needed culture change throughout healthcare for the elderly, making it standard procedure to ask each patient about their personal goals of care at the bedside and in the doctor's office.
Our Mission: Our mission is to educate and support physicians, health care teams and patients (and their families) at all levels to ensure that a patient's treatment decisions stem from the patient's goals of care, thus empowering the patient and improving both the quality and coordination of care.
Our Vision: We envision a revolution in geriatric medicine as it is instructed in the classroom and practiced at the bedside. Through our programs, we create an environment for the frail elder that is safe and protects their rights and their choices for care, while enriching geriatric education to provide better prognostication and communication skills. We aim to expand from New Jersey to a national level and then to the international arena. For further details about NJGOC, please visit www.goalsofcare.org.
About AtlantiCare: AtlantiCare is an integrated system of services designed to help people achieve optimal health. It does so by focusing on customer needs and expectations to provide accessible, comprehensive services of superior quality and value. AtlantiCare is comprised of AtlantiCare Regional Health Services including AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center with three locations, ambulatory services and AtlantiCare Physician Group; the AtlantiCare Foundation, and AtlantiCare Health Solutions, an accountable care organization. For further details about AtlantiCare, please visit www.atlanticare.org.
About Horizon Foundation for New Jersey: The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey promotes health, well-being and quality of life across our state by supporting charitable community organizations. For more information about the Foundation visit www.HorizonBlue.com/foundation.
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