Mesothelioma is difficult to deal with and the struggle can seem insurmountable. Although the journey can be daunting, this is your disease and your life that requires your effort to make it through. Recently I came across a patient who have used the “Five Wish Document”. This is a guide that directs patients to express a plan of care at the end of life. Whether you have Mesothelioma or other diseases it gives you control and a platform to tell people, including your family and medical team, what you would like.
Five Wishes is the first living will that speaks about your medical, emotional, personal, and spiritual needs. This legal document was written by the American Bar Associations’ Commission on Law and Aging and experts in end of life care. Five Wishes is available in 27 languages and is known as a “living will with a heart and soul”.
This document meets all the requirements for an advance directive in 42 states and the District of Columbia. This writing enables the patient to express their requests about who will make care decisions when they cannot. It also allows you to explain how comfortable you would like to be and how you would like to be treated. It finally allows you to decide how much you want your loved ones to know about your end of life care.
Although these documents seem quite direct, these questions require heavy thought and reflection. For example, picking a Health Care Agent is a difficult task included in the Five Wish Document. One should choose a person who can stand up and share what your wishes are. It is best to speak to this person so they are aware of what your choices and wishes would be in certain situations. Another wish allows you to explain what ‘Life Support” means to you by enabling you to explain what limits you would allow if you were unable to speak for yourself.
The next wishes are about how comfortable you would like to be and expresses how you would like to be treated. You may possibly want your hand held and to be treated with kindness and cheerfulness, instead of sadness. It allows you to explain whether you would like to die in your home. The final wish is difficult as it is about what you would like your loved ones to know.
As the Five Wish document is a legal document, one can trust in the fact that their wishes will be respected. Everyone should review this document and think about how and what we want in our end of life care.