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Majority of Marylanders without advance medical directives
Date:2/17/2010

Approximately 66 percent of respondents to a Maryland telephone survey do not have advance medical directives, according to a new report by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Department of Health Policy and Management. Younger adults and blacks were less likely than older adults and whites, respectively, to report having an advance directive, which includes the living will and health care power of attorney. Advance directive is an end-of-life planning tool that provides instructions for types of medical treatment that are desired and/or who can make decisions about medical care should someone be unable to do so for him or herself. The results will be published in an upcoming issue of Health Policy and are available online at the journal's website.

While 34 percent of all respondents had an advance directive, 61 percent indicated they have preferences about medical care in the event they are unable to make such decisions. The primary reasons reported for not having an advance directive include being unfamiliar with them, feeling too healthy to need one, or, for the younger adults, being too young to need one. Forty percent of adults surveyed reported that they would like to obtain information on advance medical directives from a physician; however, only 12 percent of the respondents with advance directives reported obtaining it from their doctor.

"These results support a need for legislative and regulatory changes to increase the number of people with advance directives," said Dan Morhaim, MD, one of the study authors and an adjunct professor with the Bloomberg School's Department of Health Policy and Management and member of the Maryland House of Delegates. "Advance medical directives cost nothing to complete and are readily available from many sources. We need to make surethat people know where to get them and why it's important to complete them."

Research has shown the benefits of advance di
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Contact: Tim Parsons
tmparson@jhsph.edu
410-955-7619
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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