22nd Alaska State Legislature
Information from Representative Bill Hudson

Click image for large 5'' x 7'' picture, 118.9k Session:
State Capitol, Room 502
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
Phone: (907) 465-3744
Fax: (907) 465-2273

Sponsor Statement for HB 197
Health Care Services Directives

An Act relating to directives for personal health care services and for medical treatment.
Released: April 24, 2001
Contact: Melanie Lesh, Legislative Aide to Rep. Bill Hudson,
at (907) 465-4230

House Bill 197 offers a "comprehensive simplified" alternative to the power of attorney enacted in Alaska in 1996 relating to health care services and directives for the terminally ill patient. That was not an oxymoron. The legislation is comprehensive because it speaks to the details and instructions that patients put in place regarding their care should they become incapacitated. It is simple in that the directives speak simply to the patient's wishes (the legislation is known nationally as the Five-Wishes) as follows:

My Wish for:

  1. The person I want to make care decisions for me when I can't
  2. The kind of medical treatment I want or don't want
  3. How comfortable I want to be
  4. How I want other people to treat me
  5. What I want my loved ones to know

The Five Wishes contained in this bill, will produce a document that helps you express how you want to be treated if you are seriously ill and unable to speak for yourself. It is unique among all other living will and health agent forms because it looks to all of a person's needs: medical, personal, emotional and spiritual. Five Wishes also encourages discussing your wishes with your family and physician.

Five Wishes is changing the way America talks about and plans for care at the end of life. Nearly one million copies of the document are circulating throughout the nation, and more than 1,400 organizations are distributing this revolutionary document, including churches, synagogues, hospices, hospitals, doctor and law offices, and social service agencies. Many employers are providing the document to their employees, to help them plan for themselves as well as have those delicate discussions with their aging parents.

Five Wishes speaks to people in their own language, helping families talk with their physician about a subject that is often avoided as being too hard to face.

The 15 states that Five Wishes is not legally valid in, either require a specific state form or that the person completing an advance directive be read a mandatory notice or "warning." Residents of these states can still use Five Wishes to put their wishes in writing and communicate their wishes with their family and physician. Most health care professionals understand they have a duty to listen to the wishes of their patients no matter how they are expressed.

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5 Wishes Document
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Aging with Dignity website