Five Wishes Practice Community Newsletter

Summer 2019

The Five Wishes Practice Community is a collaborative community of healthcare professionals who use the Five Wishes program for advance care planning activities. The goal of the community is to enhance your outcomes and elevate your practice through sharing best practice stories, resources, information, and more.


Membership is free and available to all healthcare professionals who use any components of the Five Wishes program.

Join us for the first Five Wishes Practice Community Webinar: Gaining Traction – Increasing Value and Support for your Advance Care Planning (ACP) Program. This free presentation will be helpful for anyone who would like to gain deeper organizational support for ACP, and increase awareness of the value of their work. We will review ideas about ways to communicate value, demonstrate success, and make the case for formal support.

  • Learn how to make a compelling case for engaging in ACP initiatives

  • Learn the importance of gaining support from a champion and a sponsor

  • Get tips on how to identify ACP projects that can help demonstrate success and give you something to build upon

Our guest speaker is Laurie Jackson M.Div, Senior Director of CompassCare for Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital.

  • This Webinar is intended for all healthcare professionals working in healthcare organizations and settings.

  • Thursday Sept 12 from 1:30pm-2:30pm Eastern (10:30am Pacific, 11:30am Mountain, 12:30pm Central)

  • To Register, please visit

In the spring of this year, we sent out an invitation to our healthcare partners to participate in the Five Wishes Practice Community Survey. We are grateful to all of you who took the time to provide feedback – we read every survey returned to us. Your responses are helping us shape what we offer to you so that we can help strengthen, support, and improve your advance care planning efforts. Here are a few things we learned from your responses to the Practice Community Survey. See if you can relate!

  • Over 80% of respondents are using Five Wishes tools for patient care, and over 50% for community education and outreach. Many of you are also using Five Wishes resources for clinical/professional education and professional/referral partner outreach.

  • Almost half of survey respondents serve in clinician/direct patient care roles, and nearly a third hold manager/leader roles. Lots of respondents hold several roles!

  • Less than one quarter have formal advance care planning programs in place.

  • Most respondents (nearly 77%) are not measuring results of their advance care planning efforts, and most need help with developing meaningful measurements and gaining organizational support for their programs.

  • The Five Wishes tools of most interest are the Five Wishes Conversation Guide for Clinicians, The Five Wishes Conversation Guide for Individuals and Families, and The Five Wishes Online trainings.

  • The most requested future resource for us to develop is a Five Wishes Outreach guide.

What do you think? Do you have additional input? Let us know! And thank you again for responding to our survey. We appreciate all you do!

Last year, we released three online training modules in response to requests for high-quality, accredited, on-demand advance care planning training that wouldn’t require clinicians and staff to be taken out of the field for the day. So far, the Five Wishes Online courses have been completed over 5,135 times! We’re hearing that the modules are meeting your needs, and we are so glad!

Each one-hour course carries continuing education credit for nurses, social workers, and nursing home administrators. The training series covers everything from advance care planning basics to in-depth conversation skills and program development. You can take one course, or any combination, depending upon your learning needs.

If your organization is looking for advance care planning training and education solutions, you can learn more and access the Five Wishes online training courses by visiting our Online Training page.

Five Wishes has been popping up in news stories the past month. Has there been coverage to celebrate how you’re serving the people in your community? Let us know! Send us your news coverage!

One of the things that matters most to us is staying in touch with YOU, learning more about what you do and who you serve. That’s why we at Five Wishes like to see you where your work happens – so we can honor the good service you provide to your patients and families, your communities, and one another. Our President Paul Malley and other members of the Five Wishes team have been all over the place in the last several months, learning from you about what works, what you need, and what’s possible. Here are a few of the places we have been.

  • Austin, Texas – advocating to make it easier for people to express their end-of-life decisions in understandable terms, and while a legislative solution was not achieved, it is possible to add language from the TX statute into Five Wishes so that hospitals and other organizations can use Five Wishes without difficulty

  • Texas – presenting at a gathering of Medicare plans and illuminating the connection between advance care planning and the aims of many Medicare Advantage plans focused on social determinants of health, member engagement, and satisfaction

  • Yakima, Washington – connecting with friends at Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital, learning about their program’s deep impacts in the community, and how we can further partner train future healthcare leaders

  • Washington – visiting with those leading outstanding efforts of Providence Health System and Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest

  • Olympic Peninsula, Washington – spending time with our partner Jefferson Healthcare Medical Center

  • New Jersey – appearing with our friends at the New Jersey Healthcare Quality Initiative at a statewide gathering of leaders promoting quality care at the end of life

  • Orlando, Florida – with the Professional Chaplains Association and the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine

  • San Francisco, California – at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Patient Experience conference

  • Las Vegas, Nevada – highlighting the new Five Wishes at Work program with the Society of Human Resource Managers

See you out there…

If you or someone from your organization plans to attend one of the following events – or even if you’re nearby – please let us know. We’d love to see you!

  • San Antonio, Texas – Relias Impact Nation – Sept. 23-25

  • San Francisco, California – Self Insurance Institute of America – Sept. 29 – Oct. 2

  • Minneapolis, Minnesota – Coalition to Transform Advanced Care – Oct. 9-11

  • Naples, Florida – National Pension Education Association – Oct. 21-22

  • Atlanta, Georgia – Center to Advance Palliative Care – Nov. 13-16

  • San Francisco, California – End Well – Dec. 5

Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital in Yakima, Washington has accomplished a remarkable practice across all departments. They are the first hospital in the country to standardize the requirement of the “surprise question” for every patient at the time of admission. The “Surprise Question” (‘would you be surprised if this patient died within the next six months?’) is a screening tool intended to identify people nearing the end of life. Standardizing this question at the time of admission allows physicians to assess life span and prognosis for every single patient admitted into care. Every physician is assessing and documenting the answer to the surprise question. If answered “no,” a process for a consult to consider a referral to palliative care or hospice is automatically initiated.

The surprise question is a key element in identifying patients who can benefit from advance care planning conversations, and additional services and levels of care. Standardizing this process across all departments allows Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital to provide care consistent with the goals and values of every single patient – providing truly patient-centered care as end of life approaches.

If you want to learn more about how Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital accomplished this feat and what they’re doing with their advance care planning program, tune in to our Five Wishes Practice Community Webinar on Sept 12.

Thanks to Laurie Jackson M.Div, Director of CompassCare at Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital for this incredible best practice highlight – keep up the great work and we can’t wait to hear your Webinar presentation on Sept 12!

Help us Highlight YOUR Best Practice

We want to hear about the difference you’re making with your advance care planning program, and with Five Wishes resources. 
Send us a note . We'll keep featuring examples in upcoming newsletters and webinars.

Your story could be next!