The Organizations Will Deliver Community Engagement Activities to 5,000 Maryland Residents

Baltimore, MD (April 16, 2018) – The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) recently announced new partnerships with 11 organizations that will deliver community engagement activities to increase awareness of advance directives, the document that allows an individual to decide what kind of medical treatment they do or do not want, particularly in a medical emergency or near end of life.  The new partner organizations were competitively awarded through a grant funding opportunity and will deliver approximately 110 community engagement activities over the coming year.
Research has shown the benefits of advance directives include improved quality at the end of life, fewer burdens on family and health care providers, and a reduced need for life-sustaining treatment.[1]
In Maryland, most adults agree it’s important to share their wishes for end of life care, yet just one in three has completed an advance directive.[2] Lack of awareness is the most frequently reported reason.[3] Other reasons include feeling too young or healthy, concerns about cost or complexity to complete an advance directive,[4] and differing cultural or spiritual views and values on death and dying.[5]
The 11 new partner organizations will begin to tackle these barriers to shift attitudes and change behaviors around advance directives, encouraging residents to take action. These organizations will implement a variety of activities in 18 of Maryland’s 24 counties with events ranging from lunch-and-learns and seminars to plays and “games” focused on advance care planning. Paper as well as newer electronic advance directive formats will be discussed.
The year-long community engagement series kicks off with a workshop for the 11 partners on Monday, April 16, coinciding with National Healthcare Decisions Day. Activities will run through March 31, 2019.
The 11 new partner organizations are:
1.     Asian American Center of Frederick
2.     Chase Brexton Health Services
3.     Consumer Health First
4.     First Impressions Enterprises, Inc.
5.     Hospice Caring, Inc.
6.     Hospice of Frederick County
7.     Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
8.     Moving Youth Toward Hope
9.     Muslim Community Center
10.  University of Maryland Baltimore Foundation
11.  Washington County Commission on Aging

[1] Rao JK et al. Completion of Advance Directives Among US Consumers. Am J Prev Med 2014: 46(1): 65-70.
[2] Morhaim DK and KM Pollack. End-of-life Care Issues: A Personal, Economic, Public Policy and Public Health Crisis. Am J Public Health 2103 103(6):e8-e10
[3] Morhaim DK and KM Pollack. End-of-life Care Issues: A Personal, Economic, Public Policy and Public Health Crisis. Am J Public Health 2103 103(6):e8-e10
[4] Morhaim DK and KM Pollack. End-of-life Care Issues: A Personal, Economic, Public Policy and Public Health Crisis. Am J Public Health 2103 103(6):e8-e10
[5] Bullock K. Promoting advance directives among African Americans: a faith-based model. J Palliat Med. 2006: 9(1):183-95