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Kent Place School and Overlook Medical Center Host Community Discussion on End-of-Life Planning for Families

Summit, NJ, September 2013 – While many families defer conversations about health care until a pressing medical need arises, experience shows that “having the conversation” early, often and in times of good health, improves quality of life for everyone involved. To demystify this conversation and provide local families with tools for opening discussions, The Ethics Institute at Kent Place School, in collaboration with Overlook Medical Center, is hosting “Having the Conversation: Making Important Health Care Decisions.” This interactive, multi-generational community workshop will be held Tuesday, October 22 from 6:30 to8:00pm in the Hyde and Watson Theater, Kent Place School, 42 Norwood Avenue in Summit.  

“Planning your life’s journey – including the last chapter – for yourself and your loved ones, is essential to ensuring a good life,” says Dr. Jeanne Kerwin, ethics and palliative care coordinator at Overlook Medical Center. “Since end-of-life care decisions affect people of all ages, The Ethics Institute and Overlook Medical Center, through this workshop, hope to reach teens and adults in all stages of life.”

“Having a face-to-face conversation with your loved ones about your end-of-life preferences can release them from incredibly difficult and burdensome decisions,” explains Kerwin. “With modern medicine’s myriad of life-sustaining technologies, one must actually plan and ‘orchestrate’ the last chapter of life. If we leave it to chance, we lose control of the journey and those things that are most important to us,” says Kerwin.

The workshop will feature a screening of Anna’s Story, a documentary about end-of-life care conversations with family members and care providers, as well as a panel of speakers. Guest speakers include Overlook Medical Center staff: Sue Fessler, MD, PhD, FCCP, medical director of intensive care; Sharon Burniston, MDiv, palliative care chaplain; Jeanne Kerwin, DMH, CT; Ann Touhill, RN, intensive care unit; and Kent Place School Bioethics Project 2012 student scholars, and a family member with recent experience in end-of-life care conversations.

The Ethics Institute and Overlook Medical Center share a common mission to support community awareness and involvement in biomedical ethics. The event is free and registration is open to all community members. Due to limited seating, advance registration is requested. Learn more and register >

About Atlantic Health System
Atlantic Health System is one of the largest non-profit health care systems in New Jersey, comprised of Morristown Medical Center, Overlook Medical Center in Summit, Newton Medical Center, and Goryeb Children's Hospital. The three medical centers – all accredited by The Joint Commission – have a combined total of 1,308 licensed beds and more than 2,750 affiliated physicians providing a wide array of health care services to the residents of Northern and Central New Jersey. Specialty service areas include advanced cardiovascular care, pediatric medical and surgical specialties, neurology, orthopedics, and sports medicine. Each of these programs has earned top ratings and recognitions in their respective fields. Atlantic Health System is the official health care partner of the New York Jets and an official health care provider of the New Jersey Devils.

Morristown Medical Center’s Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute performs more heart surgeries than any other hospital in New York or New Jersey, and is one of 20 facilities across the country to perform catheter-based repair and replacement of valves on both sides of the heart. Atlantic Health System’s spine program – where surgeons perform more spine surgery than anywhere else in New Jersey – is one of just 13 hospitals across the country that has received the Gold Seal of Approval™ from The Joint Commission, achieving Disease-Specific Care Certification for cervical and lumbar spine treatments. With the Atlantic Neuroscience Institute based at Overlook Medical Center, the hospital serves as the hub for the New Jersey Stroke Network, and serves about 40 percent of the state’s stroke patients. The system’s Goryeb Children’s Hospital offers more than 100 board-certified physicians in 20 pediatric specialties. Morristown Medical Center is verified as a Level I Regional Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons and designated a Level II by the state of New Jersey.

Atlantic Health System has been chosen for the past five consecutive years by FORTUNE® as one of the magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For®.” The organization has also been recognized six times by AARP as one of the “Best Employers for Workers over 50.” Inside Jersey magazine partnered with Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. and ranked Morristown Medical Center in 2013 as the No. 1 hospital in New Jersey and the No. 1 hospital in the state for treatment of heart failure, coronary surgery, hip and knee repair, treatment of breast, prostate and pediatric cancers and treatment of stroke. In 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked Morristown Medical Center as a top hospital nationwide for cardiology and heart surgery, gynecology and geriatric care, in the publication’s annual Best Hospitals list.  Morristown Medical Center also ranked among the best hospitals in New Jersey and as a “Best Regional Hospital” for Cancer, Diabetes & Endocrinilogy, Neurology and Neurosurgery, Orthopedics as well as Gastroenterology and GI surgery, Nephrology, Pulmonology and Urology. U.S. News & World Report ranked Overlook Medical Center in 2013 among the best hospitals in central New Jersey and as a “Best Regional Hospital” for Neurology and Neurosurgery as well as Gastroenterology and GI surgery, Geriatrics, Gynecology, Nephrology, Pulmonology and Urology. Atlantic Health System is an affiliate of The Mount Sinai Hospital and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Media Contacts:

  • Overlook Medical Center
  • 99 Beauvoir Avenue
  • Summit, NJ 07902
  • Janina Scheytt Hecht
  • Public Relations Manager
  • 908-522-2142
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Morristown Medical Center

100 Madison Avenue
Morristown, NJ 07960

Overlook Medical Center

99 Beauvoir Avenue
Summit, NJ 07901

Newton Medical Center

175 High Street
Newton, NJ 07860

Chilton Medical Center

97 West Parkway
Pompton Plains, NJ 07444

Hackettstown Medical Center

651 Willow Grove Street
Hackettstown, NJ 07840

Goryeb Children's Hospital

100 Madison Avenue
Morristown, NJ 07960

Affiliated Providers

Atlantic Medical Group

More than 900 health care