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About Speak(easy) Howard
The Speak(easy) Howard campaign is a Howard County initiative that helps residents think through their preferences for care, talk about them with loved ones, and name a health care agent, the person you choose to make medical decisions if you can't. The Horizon Foundation is leading the campaign along with many community partners.
The first year of the campaign included a community-wide collaborative facilitated by The Conversation Project and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Health care providers, faith leaders and community groups participating in the collaborative became experts on advance care planning.
A large-scale public campaign launched in 2018 to widely encourage all Howard County residents to take these first two important steps.
Ninety percent of people say talking with their loved ones about their preferences for care is important. Yet only 27 percent have actually done so (The Conversation Project National Survey, 2013). There are plenty of reasons why, and they might differ for each of us. But the bottom line is this – when we have people who depend on us and people we love, we owe it to them to make a plan and talk to them about it. That way we don't leave them with burden or uncertainty, and we all get more peace of mind. Speak(easy) Howard's goal is to make it easier for every adult in our community to take these steps, by offering step-by-step help, events, and plenty of other resources. We truly believe that our medical care should be up to us, and making and sharing our plans now allows us to ensure that it will be.
Maryland Honoring Choices Coalition
We know that communities most successful in honoring patient wishes have created systems that regularly present residents with the opportunity to complete an advance care plan. That is why the Horizon Foundation, MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society, the Maryland Hospital Association and AARP Maryland have teamed up to form a new statewide group, the Maryland Honoring Choices Coalition. The newly formed coalition will not only focus on raising awareness about the importance of naming one’s agent, but will also educate Marylanders about end-of-life issues and the ability to upload their advance healthcare directive documents electronically for their doctors to access. The coalition will reach out to health care providers, insurers, legislators and state administration and advocate for changes to statewide practices to ensure residents are regularly prompted to name a health care agent and/or complete an advance care plan.