News Release

PO 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
Len Fishman
Commissioner
For Release:
January 6, 1999
For Further Information Contact:
Dennis McGowan
(609) 984-7160
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Department Gets Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey Grant To Pilot Comfort Care Program in Long Term Care Facilities

Kickoff Event Slated in Whippany on January 13th

TRENTON -- The Department of Health and Senior Services' Office of the Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly today announced it has received an $80,000 grant from the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey to pilot an initiative designed to improve the quality of comfort care and pain management in institutional long term care settings by teaching staff members the principles and tools of palliative care.

Ten nursing homes in Essex, Morris, Sussex, Union and Warren counties will be selected for participation in the pilot. The project will train four-member palliative care teams within each facility to provide options and infrastructures for long term care residents to receive excellent comfort care and hospice services as appropriate within the nursing home.

Nursing home representatives from the area have been invited to learn more about the pilot at a kickoff event at the Alex Aidekman Family Jewish Community Campus in Whippany at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, January 13, 1999. The event will be hosted by palliative care expert Dr. Ann Berger of Cooper Health Systems and Bonnie Kelly, state Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly.

"Our goal is to foster a fundamental shift in thinking and practices among long term care professionals by de-mystifying pain management within the nursing home setting," said Kelly. "We believe that residents deserve the right to live and die as they choose -- in their own home -- even if that is a nursing home. No one should have to transfer out of a nursing home to receive good comfort care, pain management and hospice care."

Kelly said the project will be completed at the end of 1999 and training will emphasize the clinical, psychosocial and spiritual issues and tools related to palliative care and pain management. The project is a collaborative effort between the Office of the Ombudsman and Cooper Health Systems.

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