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Planning ahead

on Friday, May 23, 2014

A Melbourne healthcare provider has become the national distributor of a unique end-of-life document that invites people of all ages to identify their emotional, spiritual and medical preferences in the event that they can no longer speak for themselves.

Colbrow Healthcare launches Five Wishes on Tuesday May 27 as part of their Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late initiative, a broad appeal for greater community dialogue on matters of life and death.

Five Wishes Australia is an adaptation of Five Wishes in the US, which has a circulation of over 19 million worldwide.

Succinct and narrative in style, Five Wishes Australia is accessible to anyone over the age of 18.

With no affiliation to any public hospital, Five Wishes is a bipartisan advance care directive that enables perfectly healthy people to protect themselves if and before chaos strikes.

Colbrow business developer Wendy Miles said Five Wishes will actually target healthy communities, hoping to save everyday people from unnecessary stress in unexpected situations.

Ms Miles herself was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011.

“It would have been great at the time if I had already appointed my medical substitute decision maker so I could focus on getting well.”

Now recovered, she has no need for Peter MacCallum paperwork, but still wants her best interests protected in the event of a car accident, for example.

She said technology and science has progressed to a point where medicine can significantly prolong life.

But just because it’s possible, is it right for the individual?

Five Wishes makes that the patient’s prerogative, ensuring their beliefs are represented in the kind of treatment they receive.

This includes “yes” or “no” tick-box considerations like, “I wish to have close family and/or friends put some make-up on me to maintain my appearance.”

“Something like this could mean the world to someone who has been very particular about their appearance all their life, but others couldn’t care less,” Ms Miles said.

Five Wishes has also become the first advance care directive in Australia to raise the issue of social media.

As well as protecting someone in a seriously ill state, Five Wishes is also instructive to their family and loved ones.

Ms Miles remembers one woman whose dying husband had documented in his Five Wishes that he wanted to be surrounded by pictures of his family.

“When the staff moved the pictures onto a higher shelf, the wife was able to bring them down again knowing that was what he wanted.

“It gave her a way to help him, when otherwise she might have felt helpless.”

Ms Miles said she hopes the launch of Five Wishes will generate conversations that allow people to stay in control all of their life.

“It can give people a voice when they no longer have one.”

Order your Five Wishes today.