"Five Wishes:" An Easy Advance Directive Promotes Dialogue on End-of-Life Care

Public education to promote a health and long-term care system to allow aging with dignity

The Florida Commission on Aging with Dignity, a privately funded nonprofit in Tallahassee, Fla., held a series of five community forums in Florida in 1996 and 1997 on a variety of aging and end-of-life issues.

Key Results

  • The forums examined how health and long-term care services could be structured and managed to safeguard the dignity of people as they age and approach death. Forum topics included:
    • The aging of the U.S. population and its implications for Florida.
    • Medicaid and its role in safeguarding the elderly poor.
    • Long-term care insurance and other financial planning issues for aging adults.
    • Barriers to discussing death and dying, compassionate care, and assisted suicide.
    • At the fifth forum, Florida's governor, state supreme court justice, and their wives signed copies of "Five Wishes," an advance directive created by the project to help people discuss and make their wishes known about end-of-life care.
  • The project launched the Five Wishes advance directive campaign. The initiative produced a brochure that walks people through the steps of writing down how they would like to be cared for in the event of a serious illness or injury.
  • The Five Wishes advance directive is available online.

Funding

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported the effort with a grant of $398,690, which took place between June 1996 and November 1997.

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