Niagara Health


Type of Practice


Death in hospital is common and remains a difficult experience of patients, families, and clinicians. In the St. Catharines Site Intensive Care Unit (ICU), 1 of 8 patients will die from their illness. A poor experience of death for families may lead to depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress while clinicians may experience moral distress and vicarious suffering. The goal of the 3 Wishes Program is to improve the quality of the dying experience through acts of compassion aimed at personalizing this difficult time for families. This is done by first learning more about the patients and then implementing wishes that provide comfort and dignify the lives of dying patients. These wishes may be as simple as getting food for the families, playing favorite songs, or offering spiritual support, and can be as personalized as creating keepsakes to remember the life of the patient and helping a patient to die at home. To date, we have helped 14 dying patients and realized 61 wishes. Through this program, we tangibly live out the core value at Niagara Health, compassion in action. 

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