New Initiative Under Way to Provide Advance Care Directives to Ethnically and Culturally Diverse Communities

* End-of-life decision-making program translated into 20 languages

* Outreach in 38 states through communities, hospitals and hospices

* Eliminates barriers to end-of-life decision-making for

non-English-speaking members of ethnically and culturally diverse


Oct 18, 2006, 01:00 ET from United Health Foundation

    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
     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, In addition, the National Hospice and
 Palliative Care Organization has a Web site,, 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

SOURCE United Health Foundation