Tuesday, July 22, 2014

McCracken named Public Servant of the Year by leading hospice organization

Jim McCracken is shown with Cecelia Clayton, NJHPCO Board Chairperson and Executive Director of Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice.  The dinner was held at the Sheraton Eatontown Hotel on June 12.  Photograph by Tina DeAngelis, Visual Expressions.
EATONTOWN -- New Jersey Long-Term Care Ombudsman James W. McCracken, of Belmar,  has been named the Public Servant of the Year by the New Jersey Hospice and Palliative Care Organization for his work to educate the long-term care community about the benefits of advance care planning.

On June 12, the NJHPCO presented its Spirit of Hospice Awards for exceptional leadership in end-of-life care to McCracken and to Amy Matthews, Director of Education and Training for the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater New Jersey. Matthews was named Educator of the Year.

“Since becoming Ombudsman, James W. McCracken has dramatically expanded his Office’s efforts to inform long-term care residents and staff about the benefits of advance care planning and the importance of ensuring that long-term care residents have an opportunity to articulate a plan of care that reflects their goals, values and preferences,” said NJHPCO Board Chairman Cecelia Clayton, who is the Executive Director of Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice.

Since being named head of the state’s Office of the Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly (OOIE), McCracken has instituted a program to provide on-site advance care planning trainings to long-term care facility staff and has promoted advance care planning at all his public events.

“Ensuring that long-term care residents have access to all of the information that they need to help them make decisions about their own health care is the ultimate residents’ rights issue,” said McCracken, whose office advocates for the rights of residents over age 60 who reside in long-term care facilities like nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

The NJPCO, a leading advocate for better end-of-life care for New Jersey residents, also presented its Hospice Team Awards to more than a dozen individuals and programs representing all hospice disciplines including nurses, social workers, chaplains, volunteers and others. The awards were presented at the organization’s 17th annual Spirit of Hospice Awards Dinner at the Sheraton Eatontown Hotel.

Prior to leading the OOIE, McCracken was the CEO of The House of the Good Shepherd in Hackettstown, NJ. Prior to that, he held executive positions in two senior communities operated by the United Methodist Homes of New Jersey (UMHNJ): Bristol Glen Continuing Care Retirement Community in Newton, and Francis Asbury Manor, in Ocean Grove. Mr. McCracken holds a Master of Health Administration from the University of New Hampshire and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Denison University in Ohio.

For more information about OOIE visit www.state.nj.us/ooie.