I’m headed to India later this week to visit and volunteer at Mother Teresa’s home for the dying in Calcutta. Mother Teresa’s life and work was the inspiration for our founding by Jim Towey in 1996. He was her legal counsel for 12 years until her death and was also a volunteer in her missions in Mexico and Washington, D.C. I’m excited to return to where it all began. I’ll be posting as I can on our Facebook page. So if you haven’t already, be sure to “like” us to receive updates over the next few days. Meanwhile, here are some highlights of our summertime activity, and what we have accomplished with your support.
Five Wishes meets the legal requirements of 42 states, but is used in all 50 to help people plan ahead of a serious illness. The remaining eight states retain their overly restrictive laws that require residents to use government-supplied words and forms to express their own wishes. Earlier this year I testified before the New Hampshire legislature in favor of a bill that would allow more flexibility. As it is now, the Granite State affords more advance care planning rights to its visitors than to its own residents! We see hopeful signs that things may improve there soon.
Former Colorado first lady Dottie Lamm’s recent column in the Denver Post led to a huge uptick in interest in Five Wishes, as did the Diane Rehm Show on NPR. Great stories about us also in the Wall Street Journal, Caregiverlist.com, the Oncology Report and in many, many caregiving blogs and websites.
We delivered large numbers of customized bilingual Five Wishes in Chinese, Japanese and Korean to Los Angeles, California and the Little Tokyo Service Center. Sharp HealthCare in San Diego serves one of the largest Arabic communities in the nation, so their custom bilingual Arabic Five Wishes will be of great help there. We’re also very proud that the Cherokee Nation has renewed its commitment to using Five Wishes across its expansive health care system, as has UPMC in Pennsylvania. The City of Austin, Texas continues to make Five Wishes available as an employee benefit, and we recently completed a custom version of Five Wishes for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America for use in its planned giving campaign. If you’re interested in learning more about our custom printing options, contact Catherine Bell in our office.
Five Wishes was credited with measurably improving cancer patients’ emotional and mental quality of life in a Mayo Clinic study reported in the August issue of the Journal of Palliative Medicine. Cancer treatment providers like the Park Nicollet Frauenshah Cancer Center in St. Paul, Minnesota use Five Wishes and ION Solutions will make Five Wishes part of its Michigan Oncology Medical Home Demonstration Project aimed at improving patient treatment and outcomes. Baptist Memorial Health Care will be making Five Wishes available to its 10,000 employees in 14 affiliate hospitals in Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas.
Coming Soon: Our list of Five Wishes resources will soon include an advance care planning document aimed at teenagers and young adults under age 18. It will fit nicely between our popular pediatric version, My Wishes, and Five Wishes, for all adults age 18 and older.
Heads Up: National Hospice and Palliative Care Month is November. Hospice organizations are among the best of our 35,000 partner organizations and use Five Wishes for education/marketing purposes as well as clinical use. Some conduct major communitywide campaigns, such as the Nathan Adelson Hospice in Las Vegas, Nevada and Hope Hospice’s “50,000 Wishes for Hope,” in which 10,000 copies of Five Wishes were distributed to people in the Naples, Florida area.
Thank you again for your interest and support of our work. Our movement to improve care at the end-of-life and honor the God-given human dignity of each person is making an impact, thanks to you. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for updates from India this week and next.
In less than 18 months, more than 10,000 people have completed their Five Wishes using Five Wishes Online. FWO users can fill it out using a computer, save in PDF and print out with all the information/preferences filled in, ready for signing. You can also print it out blank to complete by hand. There’s no more waiting for the mail to arrive. Read review.
In June, Aging with Dignity welcomed a delegation from Japan’s National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology. Left to right, Dr. Kazumitsu Nakashima, Director, Department of Palliative Care and Medicine; Paul Malley, Aging with Dignity President; Dr. Mitsunori Nishikawa; Dr. Young Jae Hong; and Yuriko Yokoe, Certified Nurse in Palliative Care. We shared our expertise and talked about how we have successfully adapted Five Wishes for use in other countries. Japan faces the enormous twin challenges of an aging population and an insufficient supply of trained caregivers.