New Jerseyans nearing the end of their lives receive treatment that is more aggressive and 20 percent more expensive on average than it is elsewhere. A group of healthcare stakeholders in the state are focusing on the subject.

They have formed the Goals of Care Coalition of New Jersey. Linda Schwimmer, president of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, says it's important to talk about end-of-life wishes with your family.

"It is a really important issue that people need to pay attention to, even though it is not the most pleasant thing to pay attention to," she said.

She said they are trying to change the culture so that people can express "what they want their end-of-life medical treatment to be near the end of their lives and then knowing how to put it in writing and to do that in a way where it will be respected."

Schwimmer emphasizes the importance of putting your end-of-life wishes in writing and designating someone to follow through.

"There are legal forms that New Jersey recognizes. So that is the best way to do it. But then there is also having a health care proxy. So designating someone whom you know and you trust who can express your wishes and be your advocate when you are not able to, particularly if you have dementia or Alzheimer's or you are just injured, and you are not able to speak for yourself."

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Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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