Five Wishes and Faith Communities: A Natural Fit
Faith communities of all traditions use Five Wishes because it is the only advance directive that deals with spiritual matters in addition to medical decisions. It assists health care providers in respecting an individual’s religious beliefs and traditions in case he or she becomes seriously ill. It also emphasizes the important role of faith communities during times of serious illness, and affirms the God-given human dignity of every person.
Churches, synagogues and other faith communities are on the front lines when someone is sick and near the end-of-life. Families turn to their pastor, priest or rabbi for guidance, consolation and prayer during times of serious illness. It makes sense that places of worship would raise the issue of advance care planning to help understand what members would want if they experience a health crisis.
When people complete Five Wishes, they clearly choose and document whether or not they would like visitors; if they would like to be prayed for; if they would like scripture or sacred text read aloud to them; if they wish to seek or grant forgiveness; if they wish to express their love to family members; and if they would like a memorial service. Some clergy have asked their congregants to complete Five Wishes and return it to them so they will have access to the document when visiting in the hospital.
Five Wishes owes much of its success to the many places of worship that were among the first to embrace Five Wishes in their congregations. Of the 40,000 organizations nationwide that distribute Five Wishes, the largest single type of distributor is places of worship.
For more information on how Five Wishes can work in your church, synagogue or temple, complete the form below to be placed on our mailing list for important Advance Care Planning information.