MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., Oct. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- In an effort to help eliminate language barriers to end-of-life decision-making for individuals within ethnically and culturally diverse communities nationwide, a collaboration of health care organizations including United Health Foundation, Aging with Dignity, the American Hospital Association and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization is distributing translated copies of the Five Wishes advance care directive. Aging with Dignity's Five Wishes has been translated into Chinese (traditional and simplified), Arabic, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Somali, Hmong, Korean, French, Polish, Russian, Vietnamese, Albanian, Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, Spanish, Japanese, Gujarati and Croatian. Through funding support of the United Health Foundation's Evercare Hospice Foundation, 100,000 language-specific versions will be provided free of charge to individuals and community organizations, and a CD with samples of the document will be sent to hospitals and hospices to assist them in caring for their patients and understanding their wishes. In addition, the organizations are launching a Five Wishes outreach effort in 38 states. These statewide programs, tailored to the unique needs of each state and its communities, will be launched over the next six months. This outreach is in response to the increasing complexity of end-of-life medical care decisions and the expanding number of people who require assistance in communicating their wishes in languages other than English. In 38 states, Five Wishes is recognized as a standard for assisting individuals and their families to work through their choices for end-of-life care and communicate those choices to caregivers. "In the human family we speak in different languages, but our desire is a common one -- we all long to spend our life as we near its end with dignity and in the way we choose," said Reed Tuckson, M.D., vice president of the United Health Foundation. "Five Wishes provides the opportunity for thousands of individuals who may not speak English to access an advance care directive in their language. Additionally, this offers physicians and other caregivers important insight into the patients for whom they are caring. We are pleased to work in collaboration with culturally diverse communities and our nation's hospitals and hospices to facilitate personal wishes and choices." According to Paul Malley, president of Aging with Dignity: "This effort to reach ethnically and culturally diverse communities takes our successful work with Five Wishes to a new level. Thanks to support from the Evercare Hospice Foundation and the collaborative effort of the partner organizations, these newly translated Five Wishes documents will help tens of thousands of people put their wishes in their own words in a language they understand." Five Wishes was created by Aging with Dignity with help from leading medical experts and the American Bar Association's Commission on Law and Aging. It meets the legal requirements for an advance directive in 38 states. It is easy to use and focuses on personal care preferences in addition to important medical decisions. "Given the increasing complexity of the medical and social decisions associated with life-threatening illness, it is important that hospitals be supported as they engage individuals and families from different cultures and who speak different languages," said Richard Wade, senior vice president of the American Hospital Association. "We are pleased to work with the UnitedHealth Foundation and Aging with Dignity to make these resources available to every hospital." More information about Five Wishes is available at Aging with Dignity's Web site, www.agingwithdignity.org. In addition, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization has a Web site, www.caringinfo.org, that offers more information about advance care planning and links to each state's advance directives. J. Donald Schumacher, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization president and CEO, added, "A values-based document such as Five Wishes that has proved to be useful in facilitating discussions with diverse cultural communities provides significant value to all Americans, not just those imminently facing the end-of-life." United Health Foundation United Health Foundation is an independent not-for-profit foundation solely funded by UnitedHealth Group. The Foundation provides information to physicians and other health professionals, individuals and communities to support health and medical decisions that lead to better health outcomes and healthier communities. The Evercare Hospice Foundation is a member of the United Health Foundation family. For further information, please visit www.unitedhealthfoundation.org.
SOURCE United Health Foundation