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Advanced Directives and End-of-Life Decision Making: The Five Wishes Teaching Module

This PowerPoint teaching module discusses The Five Wishes, a tool used for planning and discussing end-of-life or serious illness decisions. It is considered unique because it looks at all of a person’s needs: medical, personal, emotional and spiritual. Strength of the document is that it speaks to people on their own language(not “doctor” or “lawyer” talk), is meant to be done in the home, instead of the emergency room and it helps patients and families talk to their physician about difficult subjects. It is an approved directive in 42 states, and has been translated into 26 languages. The module contains a class and links to the Aging with Dignity Web site for more information and to order the forms.

 Advanced Competencies Addressed In This Module:

  • Ability to understand and direct the ways one’s own values and biases regarding aging impact professional practice and ethical work with older clients, their families, and the provision of aging health and mental health services
  • Integration into the practice of social work an understanding of the life experiences and unique needs of older adults belonging to specific racial, ethnic, socioeconomic groups
  • Ability to intervene sensitively and according to professional ethics to assist older adults and families who have diverse cultural, spiritual, and ethnic values and beliefs, including:

a) different cultural perspectives, functional roles and contributions the elderly generation make in society
b) the areas of death & dying, hospice and palliative care, help-seeking, caregiving & family responsibility, physical & mental illness, and cognitive impairment
c) work with translators and understand language/terminology unique or specific to diverse linguistic groups

  • Provision of comprehensive geriatric social work case management to link elders and their families to resources and services to assist them with multi-faceted problems and provide long-term care planning