Friday, January 13, 2012

OOIE revitalizes support for Regional Ethics Committees

RECs are resource to residents, families and staff

Staff Attorney Amy Browns leads a discussion on ethical
decision-making to Volunteer Advocates
The Ombudsman is working to revitalize the Office’s involvement in ethical decision making in long-term care facilities through its work with the New Jersey’s Regional Ethics Committees (RECs).

These RECs have existed for two decades as a resource to long term care facility staff, residents, and their families when ethical dilemmas arise. Such issues may include difficult treatment decisions, conflicts among family members, withholding or withdrawing life sustaining medical treatment, and many others.

At the request of a facility or the Ombudsman’s Office, a multi-disciplinary REC team can hold a case consultation – bringing together interested stakeholders in the attempt to diffuse tensions and achieve resolution of the issue as close to the resident’s bedside as possible.

At all times, the focus of the REC's work is to adhere as closely as possible to the wishes of the resident, while weighing applicable ethical principles and considering all relevant information.

In addition to case consultations, RECs hold educational seminars, provide facility in-services, and reach out to communities to provide education on ethical issues.

The Ombudsman is working to reinvigorate and pro-mote the important work of these Committees. To that end, he is holding bi-monthly Consortium meetings to bring these groups together to share experiences and resources.

For more information on the RECs, please contact staff attorney Amy Brown at or call 609.826.5126.

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