2013 New Jersey Revised Statutes
Title 26 - HEALTH AND VITAL STATISTICS
Section 26:2H-103 - Findings, declarations relative to advance directives for mental health care.
26:2H-103 Findings, declarations relative to advance directives for mental health care.
2.The Legislature finds and declares that:
a.This State recognizes, in its law and public policy, a patient's right to make voluntary, informed choices to accept, reject, or choose among alternative courses of medical and surgical treatment, and specifically for a competent adult to plan ahead for health care decisions through the execution of an advance directive for health care, otherwise known as a living will or durable power of attorney for health care, and to have the wishes expressed therein respected, subject to certain limitations;
b.Advance directives for health care provide a vehicle for competent adults to operationalize their fundamental legal right to accept or refuse medical treatment in the event that they are rendered unable to make decisions and communicate with a health care provider about their treatment options because of serious illness, injury or permanent loss of mental capacity;
c.The issues affecting persons with mental illness and their psychiatric needs warrant enactment of a separate statute governing advance directives for these individuals, who: find their civil rights and due process protections frequently compromised; often lack the resources, societal supports and self-esteem needed to make advance directives for health care work for them; and are disadvantaged by the fact that many physicians and attorneys are unaware of the specific issues that typically enter into the decisions that a person with mental illness may make for himself when in crisis;
d.The provision by statute of advanced directives for mental health care will assure respect for the rights of patients with mental illness with respect to the provision of mental health services and their decision-making in regard thereto; and
e.In order to permit a person with mental illness to execute an advance directive that specifies preferences for mental health services in the event that the declarant is subsequently determined to lack decision-making capacity, the Legislature hereby enacts the "New Jersey Advance Directives for Mental Health Care Act."
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