January 27, 2017

Speak(easy) Howard Community Partners Spark Advance Care Conversations Around the County

More than a dozen community groups including faith congregations and medical providers came together Jan. 18 to discuss their latest efforts promoting advance care planning as part of the Speak(easy) Howard campaign. In partnership with the Horizon Foundation and national experts from The Conversation Project at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, these groups have committed one year to conduct outreach urging individuals to take two critical steps in planning for the health care they would want if they were unable to communicate their wishes: having a conversation with loved ones about their wishes and naming a health care agent.

From holding conversation workshops in churches to adding health care agent information in medical records, the groups are using a wide variety of strategies to make advance care planning convenient and helpful.

At the January session, leaders shared stories about how their efforts are making a difference. In one case, Columbia Medical Practice provided a patient with a Conversation Starter Kit and discovered that the patient already had received one at St. John Baptist Church.

The session concluded with a Speak(easy) Howard workshop where 50 community members and individuals from participating groups received training and guidance on starting their own planning conversations. Attendees included lawyers, hospital staff, financial planners, church members, emergency response personnel and staff at community organizations.

A dozen Korean community leaders participated in a special Korean-language workshop on starting the conversation co-hosted by the Korean American Community Association. Attendees received training on using the Korean version of the Conversation Starter Kit. The Korean American Community Association also presented a new video that introduces the topic of advance care planning for Korean speakers.