Five Wishes - More Than Just an Advance Directive

Five Wishes is changing the way we talk about advance care planning.


More than just an advance directive, Five Wishes brings a holistic approach to a living will by including an individual’s care and comfort choices. It provides a means to legally document your choices for medical treatment, comfort, and care wishes.

It brings tremendous peace of mind to know that your health care wishes will be respected in the event you can’t speak for yourself. Not expressing your wishes could lead to family disagreements. So why have only one in five Americans completed an advance directive or living will?

Many say it’s because the subject of illness and dying is a difficult one most people would just rather avoid. Others say it’s because many advance care planning documents are confusing and don’t cover what’s really important to people. Five Wishes is America’s most popular living will because it’s written in everyday language and helps people express their wishes in areas that matter most to them. It’s also a blueprint for describing what good care means to you and allows your caregiver to know exactly what you want.

The following five wishes are covered in this document:

WISH 1: THE PERSON I WANT TO MAKE HEALTH CARE DECISIONS FOR ME WHEN I CAN’T MAKE THEM FOR MYSELF
Allows you to name a person to make health care decisions for you if you’re unable to speak for yourself. You can also name alternates. Your health care agent can interpret the instructions you give in Five Wishes and make decisions based on what they believe are your wishes and values.

WISH 2: MY WISH FOR THE KIND OF MEDICAL TREATMENT I WANT OR DON’T WANT
Allows each person to define what life support treatment means to them. People may customize this definition by writing on the blank lines included and lays out several scenarios where you choose one option from the list regarding your care. Please note that a Five Wishes is NOT a Do-Not-Resuscitate Order (DNR).

WISH 3: MY WISH FOR HOW COMFORTABLE I WANT TO BE
Stresses that you want your pain managed properly. You can express your choices for types of care, such as having a cool cloth applied to your forehead when you have a fever, having your favorite music played, etc. You are given the opportunity to cross out anything that you don’t agree with and/or add other wishes.

WISH 4: MY WISH FOR HOW I WANT PEOPLE TO TREAT ME
Allows you to express what others should keep in mind if you become seriously ill. You can specify if you want people around you, if you want prayers to be said, if you want photos of family in your room, etc. You are given the opportunity to cross out anything that you don’t agree with and/or add other wishes.

WISH 5: MY WISH FOR WHAT I WANT MY LOVED ONES TO KNOW.
Deals with “closure” matters. It encourages you to express matters of deep importance such as expressing your love or forgiveness to others that may have hurt you, communicate your wishes in regards to burial or cremation, and details for your funeral or memorial. Many people choose to attach a letter to their loved ones to be read upon their death.

For more information on "Five Wishes" and other important estate planning documents, RSVP for our next dinner presentation on Thursday, December 6th, email Dena at dena@elderlawomaha.com.

You can also call our office today at (402) 614-6400 to schedule a free consultation or visit our website at www.ElderLawOmaha.com.


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