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New Jersey Statutes, Title: 26, HEALTH AND VITAL STATISTICS

    Chapter 2H: Declaration of public policy

      Section: 26:2H-55: Definitions

           3. As used in this act:

"Adult" means an individual 18 years of age or older.

"Advance directive for health care" or "advance directive" means a writing executed in accordance with the requirements of this act. An "advance directive" may include a proxy directive or an instruction directive, or both.

"Attending physician" means the physician selected by, or assigned to, the patient who has primary responsibility for the treatment and care of the patient.

"Decision making capacity" means a patient's ability to understand and appreciate the nature and consequences of health care decisions, including the benefits and risks of each, and alternatives to any proposed health care, and to reach an informed decision. A patient's decision making capacity is evaluated relative to the demands of a particular health care decision.

"Declarant" means a competent adult who executes an advance directive.

"Do not resuscitate order" means a physician's written order not to attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the event the patient suffers a cardiac or respiratory arrest.

"Emergency care" means immediate treatment provided in response to a sudden, acute and unanticipated medical crisis in order to avoid injury, impairment or death.

"Health care decision" means a decision to accept or to refuse any treatment, service or procedure used to diagnose, treat or care for a patient's physical or mental condition, including life-sustaining treatment. "Health care decision" also means a decision to accept or to refuse the services of a particular physician, nurse, other health care professional or health care institution, including a decision to accept or to refuse a transfer of care.

"Health care institution" means all institutions, facilities, and agencies licensed, certified, or otherwise authorized by State law to administer health care in the ordinary course of business, including hospitals, nursing homes, residential health care facilities, home health care agencies, hospice programs operating in this State, mental health institutions, facilities or agencies, or institutions, facilities and agencies for the developmentally disabled. The term "health care institution" shall not be construed to include "health care professionals" as defined in this act.

"Health care professional" means an individual licensed by this State to administer health care in the ordinary course of business or practice of a profession.

"Health care representative" means the individual designated by a declarant pursuant to the proxy directive part of an advance directive for the purpose of making health care decisions on the declarant's behalf, and includes an individual designated as an alternate health care representative who is acting as the declarant's health care representative in accordance with the terms and order of priority stated in an advance directive.

"Instruction directive" means a writing which provides instructions and direction regarding the declarant's wishes for health care in the event that the declarant subsequently lacks decision making capacity.

"Life-sustaining treatment" means the use of any medical device or procedure, artificially provided fluids and nutrition, drugs, surgery or therapy that uses mechanical or other artificial means to sustain, restore or supplant a vital bodily function, and thereby increase the expected life span of a patient.

"Other health care professionals" means health care professionals other than physicians and nurses.

"Patient" means an individual who is under the care of a physician, nurse or other health care professional.

"Permanently unconscious" means a medical condition that has been diagnosed in accordance with currently accepted medical standards and with reasonable medical certainty as total and irreversible loss of consciousness and capacity for interaction with the environment. The term "permanently unconscious" includes without limitation a persistent vegetative state or irreversible coma.

"Physician" means an individual licensed to practice medicine and surgery in this State.

"Proxy directive" means a writing which designates a health care representative in the event the declarant subsequently lacks decision making capacity.

"State" means a state, territory, or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

"Terminal condition" means the terminal stage of an irreversibly fatal illness, disease or condition. A determination of a specific life expectancy is not required as a precondition for a diagnosis of a "terminal condition," but a prognosis of a life expectancy of six months or less, with or without the provision of life-sustaining treatment, based upon reasonable medical certainty, shall be deemed to constitute a terminal condition.


This section added to the Rutgers Database: 2015-11-19 18:59:06.

Older versions of 26:2H-55 (if available):

Court decisions that cite this statute: CLICK HERE.