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More Health Care Organizations Use Five Wishes than Any Other Advance Directive. Here's Why.

60% of Americans report that they want their wishes respected at the end of life

70% of those Americans have not completed an advance directive

80% of those diagnosed with a terminal illness want to have an end-of-life conversation with their physician

Physicians, hospitals, hospices, and other providers have encouraged advance care planning for decades, but with mixed results. Healthcare professionals don’t want to play referee when there is a family disagreement about what kind of treatment to provide. 

Five Wishes is America’s most popular advance care planning tool because it’s written in clear, everyday language, and because it goes further than traditional advance directives – addressing the emotional, spiritual, and personal aspects of care. Five Wishes fosters and supports values-based conversations and communication between clinicians, patients, and families about what matters to most to patients.
Five Wishes is the only advance directive that invites people to consider and identify what brings them comfort, how they want to be treated, and what they want their loved ones and others to know.

That’s why thousands of healthcare providers – including some of America’s largest health systems and health plans, teaching hospitals and community hospitals, medical schools and physician networks – use Five Wishes

​Five Wishes helps address areas that are critical in shaping the patient experience.

  • Encourages communication with patients and caregivers

  • Helps start conversations about care decisions

  • Can help avoid unnecessary hospitalizations and readmissions because patients have laid out a clear path for their medical wishes in case of a change or crisis

  • Supports culturally competent care as it is available in 28 different languages

Using Five Wishes
Thousands of health systems and medical facilities use Five Wishes as part of their Advance Care Planning programs. Some ways it can be useful in your system:

  • Provide Five Wishes for every patient to encourage conversations about healthcare decisions.

  • Use Five Wishes training materials for staff and patient education about advance care planning.

  • Provide Five Wishes to staff as part of your employee wellness initiative. Encourage staff to have these important conversations with family and friends. 

  • Use customized, branded Five Wishes as a community outreach tool with faith communities, civic organizations and employers. Increase the visibility of your programs with the public, and increase the likelihood that conversations about care preferences will occur long before a health crisis.
  • Use customized Five Wishes as an outreach tool with care partners and referral sources. Show them that you encourage value-based care conversations and excellent patient care through Five Wishes.

For more information about using Five Wishes in hospices, visit the pull down menu above and select your industry.

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Five Wishes: Helping Organizations serve Employees, Members and Customers

Five Wishes, America’s most popular advance directive, is a valuable yet inexpensive resource that can be used in a variety of ways. That’s why organizations such as the US Department of State, American Express Financial Advisors, Walter Reed Medical Center, the National Education Association, Fannie Mae and thousands of other organizations have distributed Five Wishes to their employees. 

Organizations of all industries and sizes find Five Wishes of great value because it speaks to concerns common among different groups. 

Businesses – Eighty percent of companies surveyed say addressing end-of-life-issues with their employees is important. Five Wishes helps employers provide employee eldercare support, which helps to reduce employee absenteeism and increase productivity. May employers include Five Wishes as a low-cost benefit and also distribute it during annual “benefit fairs” and during open enrollment periods. 

Education Five Wishes is used as a teaching tool in medical, nursing, gerontology and social work programs in colleges and universities. For many in undergraduate programs, Five Wishes is their first encounter with issues of aging, illness and death. Many university-affiliated health and ethics policy centers commend Five Wishes as a step forward in improving end-of-life care.

Faith Based – Places of worship distribute ​Five Wishes to their congregants because it assists health care providers in respecting their religious beliefs. Although it is not religious document, Five Wishes emphasizes personal and spiritual matters and the important role of faith communities during times of serious illness. 

Financial & Insurance – Whether it’s advising clients on retirement issues or developing an estate plan, financial planners and insurance agents look to Five Wishes as an excellent tool in developing a complete financial strategy. Many financial representatives use Five Wishes in community outreach presentations and as leave behinds during consultations. 

Funeral Services – Many funeral providers use Five Wishes to help families begin the pre-planning discussion.  It’s also an excellent companion to NFDA’s “Have a Talk of a Lifetime” campaign in that it continues the discussion of “what you want your loved ones to know.” 

Health Care – Health care providers use Five Wishes because it improves communication with patients and caregivers, saves times and frees health care professionals from having to provide treatment the patient doesn’t want. Five Wishes sends a positive message about dignity, comfort and personal relationships, which is why many hospitals and physicians distribute it at health fairs and community events. 

Hospice – Hospices and palliative care organizations use Five Wishes in their community education and outreach efforts and upon admission. It allows those nearing the end of their live to clearly state how they want to be treated, how their pain is to be managed, and what their family members and others are to know. Many hospices have found that Five Wishes helps the patient’s family better deal with an impending death – and grieving – because family members know they are doing what their loved wanted. 

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