Dream Foundation, the only national dream-granting organization for terminally ill adults, has determined the overall well-being of adults with a terminal illness improves after they have had a final dream fulfilled.

Dreams ranged from receiving essential, tangible quality of life items, creating happy memories with loved ones on a special getaway or at a family reunion to meeting a personal hero — any request that provides support and compassion to the patient.

With the help of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and dream recipients, results show patient well-being increased by an average of 21 percent in 80 percent of participants.

Patients’ initial well-being was assessed using the five-item World Health Organization Well-Being Index (WHO-5) survey prior to receipt of their dream. After patients’ dreams were fulfilled, they were asked the survey questions again.

The patients’ responses to the survey questions were compared and showed that patients had a greater sense of well-being after dream fulfillment (p <0.0001). Although life expectancy can affect well-being, it did not impact these findings.

Though the extent of the project was relatively narrow, the results suggest that fulfilling dreams of terminally ill patients contributes to improvements in their well-being.

“It is with great joy that we can share these results,” said Kisa Heyer, Dream Foundation’s CEO. “Our dream recipients and their families share these inspiring anecdotes with our staff daily but it’s important to share these insights with the palliative care community.

“We hope these results will highlight the important role that final dreams play in end-of-life care.”
All dreams were fulfilled through Dream Foundation’s General and Dreams for Veterans Dream Granting Programs. More information can be found at www.dreamfoundation.org.

Dream Foundation fulfills final dreams that provide inspiration, comfort and closure at the end of life.

With the support of a nationwide network of volunteers, hospices, health care organizations and committed donors, Dream Foundation has given life to more than 27,000 final dreams over the past two decades. Dream Foundation receives no state or federal funding, relying solely on private donations.

To support the organization’s mission, visit DreamFoundation.org/donate.

— Dani Cordaro for Dream Foundation.