What would you do if an emergency broke out and you were unable to make health care choices for yourself? Does your family know exactly what you want to happen? Do you really know? Although no one wants to think about such scenarios a crisis can emerge at any given time therefore it is best to be prepared. A known program that has had a lot of success is called `Five Wishes’. Five wishes is the first living will discusses personal, emotional, and spiritual needs as well as your medical wishes. It lets you to choose the person you would like make health care decision in a case where you can’t. Five wishes insures that however you choose to be treated is what will happen exactly. Five wishes is set up to be beneficial for you and your family. It puts the end to the guessing game. This document is a way for the patient to talk to their family and doctors even if they are in a severely ill state. The thought of five wishes initially came from Jim Towey. After 12 years of working closely to Mother Teresa and then living a year in hospice he was inspired to find way for patients and their families to plan ahead and cope with serious illness.
The ending result was five wishes. The result of five wishes was a success. It has been featured on CNN and NBC’s Today Show and in pages of Time and Money magazines. Five Wishes is often referred to as the first living will with a heart and soul’. Five wishes is now available in 23 languages and is available in 42 states and also the District of Columbia. The only requirement of being eligible for Five Wishes is to be 18 or older. According to agingwithdignity.org over 13 million Americans have already used this program. And because of its success the document is continuously distributed and suggested by hospitals, hospices, retiree groups, and lawyers. The application is broken down in 5 wishes.
Wish 1 addresses who you would like to make the decisions for you. This person is referred to as the patient’s agent. The agent can be anyone that the patient chooses as long as they are at least 18 years or older. Within this portion of the document it gives you key points to think about when choosing an agent to represent you. Also it lets you choose to what extent your agent can represent you. After wish 1 comes Wish 2. Wish 2 states what kind of medical treatment that you want or do not want. This part of the document is one of the most important since it on your treatment wishes. For instance you have to state if you would like life support or not, if you want comfort medications or not, if you want to be resuscitate in any way. This portion also has you choose your treatment if you are close to death, if you have permanent and severe brain damage without expectations of recovery, If you are in a coma and not expected to awake or recover, and lastly in any another condition under which you do not wish to be kept alive. The next wish, wish 3, is on how comfortable you would like to be.
They give options such as: no pain at all, medication only if signs of mental, stomach, and/or breathing altercations, cold rags for fevors, lips and mouth kept moist, to be kept clean, to be massaged with oils, music being played until time of dealth, have hair/nails/ teeth kept up, religious readings and poems read close to death, and emotional and spiritual care options for the family. Once that is completed you move on to wish 4 where it discusses how the patient will want to be treated. The options are : to have people around as much as possible, to have hand held and someone talking to them as much as possible, to have people bedside praying, for the faith community that the patient attends to be aware of the scenario, to be cared for with a positive attitude, pictures of loved ones surrounding the bed, to be kept clean at all times, and the option to die at home. The last wish after wish 4 is wish 5. Wish 5 is what the patient wants their loved ones to know.
The options for this category are as followed: letting them know that the patient loves them,to be forgiven for the times they hurt them, to let them know that they are forgiven for the times they hurt the patient, to let them know the patient doesn’t fear realty, for the families to make peace before the patients death, for them to remember the healthy patient, for them to respect all the wishes, for them to stay positive, for them to get counseling so the memory of the patient be joy not sorrow, for the patient to be cremated or buried, the location for the body to go, for the person they chose knows their funeral wishes. That completes the 5 wishes of the patient. The very last step is for the patient to signature the document, for there to be two witnesses and their signature and in Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia this document must be notarized. In conclusion yes signing and filling out wills are initially difficult but having this document in place before a crisis emerges ensures the actions taken place are what the patient wants. On the Five Wish document it states, ‘ Each patient’s decisions to accept or refuse medical treatment is respected. This policy is to honor a patient’s advance directive.