The 3 Wishes Program (3WP) is a palliative care initiative in which clinicians elicit and implement final wishes for patients who are unfortunately imminently dying. By celebrating lives and dignifying the dying process, the goal of the program is to improve the end-of-life experience for all stakeholders, including the patient, the family, and the clinicians. We honor our patients' wishes to the best of our ability to meet the following objectives:
- For patients, to dignify their death and celebrate their life
- For family members, to humanize the end-of-life process and create positive memories
- For clinicians, to foster patient and family-centered care and inspire more meaning in the workplace
Originated in Canada, the 3 Wishes Program began in the intensive care unit (ICU) at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in December 2017 and has since also expanded to UCLA Santa Monica Hospital. As of February 2023, we have fulfilled more than 4500 wishes for 1342 patients. Wishes are most often small and simple, and examples have included: playing the patient’s favorite music, providing the patient with a non-hospital blanket, allowing the patient to spend their final moment outdoors, giving the patient a taste of their favorite food or drink, decorating the room with the patient’s favorite memorabilia, and providing the bereaved family with keepsakes (i.e. thumbprint keychains, word-clouds, framed EKGs). More elaborate wishes have included arranging for a live musical performance or orchestrating a wedding for an engaged couple.
The average cost of providing the 3 Wishes Program for one patient is $30. Despite its low cost, we have demonstrated that these small acts of kindness have helped families through a very difficult time in their lives and are essential to the healing process. The UCLA 3 Wishes Program was originally funded by a seed grant from the CSU Institute for Palliative Care and has gained the ability to continue its mission through generous donations from families and individuals.
The 3 Wishes Program promotes the inherent dignity of dying persons and their families by eliciting and implementing meaningful wishes at the end of life.