Multiple organizations recommend that individualized end-of-life (EOL) care should be standard practice. However, a standardized approach does not exist because EOL care should be individually tailored. The 3 Wishes Project is an EOL intervention that provides direction for individualized care with 3 goals: dignify death, celebrate the patient’s life, and support family members and the intensive care unit clinicians caring for the patient. Patients and families are given the opportunity to choose 3 wishes during the dying process.


To ascertain if the implementation of the 3 Wishes Project allowed the medical team to provide individualized EOL care.


The Iowa Model was used for this evidence-based project. The project was implemented in the medical intensive care unit at an academic medical center. Outcomes were evaluated by the collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data.


From the 57 patients who died during the 2-month implementation period, 32 wish forms were collected; 31 patients participated and 1 declined. Overall participation among patients was 56%. The top 5 wishes were cloth hearts, blankets, heartbeat printouts, fingerprints and handprints, and music. The total cost was $992, and the average cost per wish was $6.98. Eighty-five percent (33 of 39) of the respondents to the medical team survey indicated that they either agreed or strongly agreed that the project allowed the medical team to consistently provide individualized EOL care.


The survey data support the 3 Wishes Project as a method that allowed the medical team to individualize EOL care and as a valuable tool for incorporation at the bedside.

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