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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 – Weather 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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