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Sharing your final wishes—in your own language—is powerful


June 30, 2021 | Everyday Moments

Hilary Walker, Anjala Farook and Anisha Farook

Punjabi speakers now have an advance care planning document in their own language, thanks to PeaceHealth’s foundation and caregivers.

Tears filled the man’s eyes as he repeatedly bowed and said “thank you, thank you” in lightly accented English.

His translator cried too.

What sparked this emotional reaction?

“I handed him a copy of an advance care directive document in Vietnamese,” says Hilary Walker.

The scene made a deep impression on her.

Sharing is powerful

As the program coordinator for advance care planning at PeaceHealth in Bellingham, Wash., Hilary knows well the power of people sharing with loved ones what they want if they can’t speak for themselves.

Doing so with materials in their native language is even more so.

Fast forward a few weeks. Anjala Farook, a patient access representative at PeaceHealth’s Center for Senior Health, was working with Hilary to complete her advance care directive when her daughter, Anisha, asked whether the materials were available in Punjabi.

It wasn’t that they needed the Punjabi version personally, but both mother and daughter have a large number of friends and family who could use it. And the population of Punjabi-speakers is growing immensely in Northwest Washington.

Better than translating

Anisha speaks English and Hindi, but not Punjabi. “It’s hard to translate the full meaning of some words from English to Hindi to Punjabi.”

“Since consent forms come in different languages, I thought it was worth a shot to see if a health directive was available in Punjabi,” Anisha said. “It’s important to know what a patient’s goals and values are so giving people this resource in their own language to read it themselves and understand it is a lot better than me trying to translate and hoping they understand.”

Hilary didn’t have any materials in Punjabi so she began an intensive search that came up empty. No organizations or health systems had any either.

Partnering with Foundation

She contacted Aging With Dignity, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people create advance care directives, to understand what it would take to translate the Five Wishes® document. And then she talked with her director, Daleasha Hall.

Daleasha said, “We’ll do it!”

With generous funding from the PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center Foundation, PeaceHealth sponsored the translation of Five Wishes® into Punjabi.

For the first time ever, Five Wishes® is now in Punjabi and is being made widely available across the country.

It’s the newest language in a catalog of nearly 30 languages available, including Vietnamese, which Hilary used with the tearfully grateful gentleman so many months ago.

Where to get copies

Hilary and other coordinators at PeaceHealth can help patients get copies of Five Wishes ® in various languages, including Punjabi. Copies can also be obtained from the Five Wishes® website.

Photo above provided courtesy of Hilary Walker, Anjala Farook and Anisha Farook.

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Sharing your final wishes—in your own language—is powerful


June 30, 2021 | Everyday Moments
Hilary Walker, Anjala Farook and Anisha FarookPunjabi speakers now have an advance care planning document in their own language, thanks to PeaceHealth’s foundation and caregivers.

Tears filled the man’s eyes as he repeatedly bowed and said “thank you, thank you” in lightly accented English.

His translator cried too.

What sparked this emotional reaction?

“I handed him a copy of an advance care directive document in Vietnamese,” says Hilary Walker.

The scene made a deep impression on her.

Sharing is powerful

As the program coordinator for advance care planning at PeaceHealth in Bellingham, Wash., Hilary knows well the power of people sharing with loved ones what they want if they can’t speak for themselves.

Doing so with materials in their native language is even more so.

Fast forward a few weeks. Anjala Farook, a patient access representative at PeaceHealth’s Center for Senior Health, was working with Hilary to complete her advance care directive when her daughter, Anisha, asked whether the materials were available in Punjabi.

It wasn’t that they needed the Punjabi version personally, but both mother and daughter have a large number of friends and family who could use it. And the population of Punjabi-speakers is growing immensely in Northwest Washington.

Better than translating

Anisha speaks English and Hindi, but not Punjabi. “It’s hard to translate the full meaning of some words from English to Hindi to Punjabi.”

“Since consent forms come in different languages, I thought it was worth a shot to see if a health directive was available in Punjabi,” Anisha said. “It’s important to know what a patient’s goals and values are so giving people this resource in their own language to read it themselves and understand it is a lot better than me trying to translate and hoping they understand.”

Hilary didn’t have any materials in Punjabi so she began an intensive search that came up empty. No organizations or health systems had any either.

Partnering with Foundation

She contacted Aging With Dignity, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people create advance care directives, to understand what it would take to translate the Five Wishes® document. And then she talked with her director, Daleasha Hall.

Daleasha said, “We’ll do it!”

With generous funding from the PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center Foundation, PeaceHealth sponsored the translation of Five Wishes® into Punjabi.

For the first time ever, Five Wishes® is now in Punjabi and is being made widely available across the country.

It’s the newest language in a catalog of nearly 30 languages available, including Vietnamese, which Hilary used with the tearfully grateful gentleman so many months ago.

Where to get copies

Hilary and other coordinators at PeaceHealth can help patients get copies of Five Wishes ® in various languages, including Punjabi. Copies can also be obtained from the Five Wishes® website.

Photo above provided courtesy of Hilary Walker, Anjala Farook and Anisha Farook.