2020 New Jersey Revised Statutes
Title 26 - Health and Vital Statistics
Section 26:2H-55 - Definitions.

Universal Citation: NJ Rev Stat § 26:2H-55 (2020)

26:2H-55 Definitions.

3. As used in P.L.1991, c.201 (C.26:2H-53 et seq.):

"Adult" means an individual who has reached majority pursuant to section 3 of P.L.1972, c.81 (C.9:17B-3).

"Advance directive for health care" or "advance directive" means a writing executed in accordance with the requirements of P.L.1991, c.201. 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 an adult who has the mental capacity to execute an advance directive and does so.

"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, dementia care homes, 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 P.L.1991, c.201.

"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.

L.1991, c.201, s.3; amended 2013, c.103, s.64; 2015, c.125, s.8.

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