North Carolina Spreads the Word about End-of-Life Care Rights

Implementing a statewide coalition to improve end-of-life care

In the period 1999–2002, staff at the Hospice for the Carolinas (later renamed the Carolinas Center for Hospice and End of Life Care), Cary, N.C. helped establish a statewide coalition, the North Carolina End-of-Life Care Coalition.

Project staff also worked with coalition partners to educate health care professionals and consumers in North Carolina about the need for advance care planning.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) funded this statewide effort as part of its Community-State Partnerships to Improve End-of-Life Care program.

Key Results:

  • Staff promoted public awareness of the basic need for quality end-of-life care. They sponsored public forums in six cities in North Carolina, reaching 255 participants.
  • Project staff and coalition partners developed a two-pronged effort to educate health care professionals and consumers about the process of advance care planning:
    • A project workgroup sponsored the training of 45 certified advance care planning instructors. These in turn trained more than 750 health care professionals and community leaders.
    • A project initiative in consumer education, Isn't It Time We Talk? helped people talk about their wishes for care at the end of their lives.
  • Project staff helped build local coalitions providing education to communities on end-of-life issues. The number of local end-of-life coalitions in North Carolina grew from eight in 1999 to 35 in 2002.
    • Project staff contracted with faculty at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine to write a training curriculum for nursing home staffs to improve their end-of-life care.

Project staff worked to foster leadership on end-of-life care issues within the state's minority population. This effort, however, encountered a number of difficulties.