To ensure long-term care residents have trusted individuals at the helm of their medical care, legislation to require long-term care facilities to annually review residents’ proxy directives was approved Thursday by the full Assembly, 75-0.
A proxy directive is used to appoint a person to make healthcare decisions on behalf of another person should they be unable to do so independently. Also known as a durable power of attorney for healthcare, proxy directives go into effect if a physician has determined that an individual is unable to comprehend their diagnosis, treatment options or advantages and disadvantages of care options.
Under this bill (A-4957), staff at long-term care facilities would meet with residents at least once a year to determine if their proxy directive, if any, is accurate and current.
The measure’s sponsors, Assembly Democrats Shanique Speight (D-Essex), Angela McKnight (D-Hudson) and Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) released the following joint statement:
“Long-term care residents must have absolute trust and faith in the person in charge of making decisions about their medical care. Naturally, a resident’s wishes may change over time as relationships evolve and their needs change.
“By checking in with residents once a year to go over their proxy directives, we will ensure their wishes are being met and they receive optimal care in their greatest time of need.”