TRENTON – The emotional topic of end-of-life care came into focus Tuesday at a health care seminar here.
In response to an audience question that pointed out that New Jersey is excellent at providing end-of-life care “interminably,’’ Dr. Susan Walsh, acting CMO of the Newark Community Health Centers Inc., pointed out that much of the end-of-life discussions start with people simply pleading to not let a family member die.
Both Walsh and Dr. Robert Hughes of Rutgers University’s Center for Health Policy talked of the necessity of having a public discussion about this issue devoid of the scare tactics that have come into play in the past.
For example, Hughes pointed out that it would be useful to begin discussions with what patients and families really want. “How can a system be designed around their preferences,’’ he said, “and the assumption that more care is always better begins to be questioned. What they are really after is value.”
Hughes and Walsh addressed an audience of more than 170 people at the Trenton Marriott hotel. The seminar was presented by the Council on State Public Affairs.