Wishes Grant Kids More Than Fun

New study shows that sick children granted wishes have better outcomes


Cimone Stills, a patient at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, who struggles with severe epilepsy, was granted her wish to visit Paris by Make-A-Wish. Her mom said that the trip not only gave her renewed hope but helped reduce her seizures.

It’s no surprise that children with critical illnesses are excited when they’re granted wishes, but until recently there wasn’t a proven link to better clinical outcomes. A new study conducted by researchers at Nationwide Children’s found that patients who received wishes were 2.5 times more likely to avoid unplanned hospital admissions and 1.9 times more likely to avoid visits to the emergency department.

“Wishes are a nice thing to do for a patient, their family and siblings, but for the first time this study lets us say that a wish is more than just nice,” said Dr. Anup Patel, section chief of neurology at Nationwide and researcher in the study. “A wish is something that potentially can help the health of a child get better over time, impact healthcare utilization and reduce dollars spent on healthcare.”

Stills continues to suffer from severe epilepsy, but she is experiencing fewer seizures and has a new sense of confidence after her trip to Paris.

Read more from Nationwide Children’s, and access the full study in Pediatric Research. Epic community members can learn how to turn on an advisory to help clinicians refer pediatric patients to Make-A-Wish.