Monday, December 11, 2017
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Jeri Ashley
Jeri Ashley

Life Planning: It IS for Everyone!

By Jeri Ashley, system director for Life Planning and Palliative Medicine Services

It has been said that there are two things in life that are certain: death and taxes! And while April 15 is the last day to file our taxes for 2012, April 16 is the day to celebrate our right to make our own health care decisions. For the sixth year in a row, April 16 has been recognized as National Health Care Decisions Day!

Baptist offers colleagues the gift and benefit of an advance care plan, or life plan, called “Five Wishes.” Five Wishes is the most popular life plan, or living will, in America. It helps our colleagues express their wishes in everyday language and serves as a blueprint to describe what good care means to them. According to the Pew Research Center’s study in 2006, 95 percent of Americans have thought about completing a living will, but only 29 percent of Americans have a life plan.

Do Baptist colleagues believe that life planning is for everyone? After presenting Five Wishes to the colleagues of the 14 Baptist Hospitals, the following information is known:

  • 8,500 colleagues have been informed of the importance of life planning and have received Five Wishes.
  • 16,000 Five Wishes tools have been distributed as employees have returned to request an additional copy for their spouses and elderly parents.
  • 96-100 percent of colleagues rate “strong agreement” with the statements “I understand the importance of life planning,” “Having access to life planning will be helpful to me,” and “I appreciate Baptist having this employee benefit for me.”
One colleague wrote on the satisfaction questionnaire, “This is the best benefit Baptist has ever given!”

Baptist will continue its tradition of valuing its colleagues by celebrating Health Care Decisions Day. On Tuesday, April 16 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. a table will be set up inside the Willows Café at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis where you can get help with the Five Wishes life plan. Colleagues can pick up a copy for themselves or their spouses from Eleanor Farber, Advance Care Planner. On Wednesday April 17, at 11 a.m., Eleanor will be available for help in Conference Room A at Baptist Trinity Home Care and Hospice.

There are life planning trainers at all hospital facilities where assistance can be received with life planning or to receive extra copies of the Five Wishes for immediate family members. If you are uncertain who your trainers are at your hospital, please notify Jeri Ashley, at

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