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Make-A-Wish Gifts Help Kids Avoid Hospitalizations, Study Suggests


Seriously ill children who receive a gift from the Make-a-Wish Foundation may have lower hospital costs than sick children who don’t receive these presents, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatric Research.

The nonprofit grants wishes, or “life-changing” experiences, to children with terminal and life-threatening diseases.

Researchers compared unplanned hospital admissions and emergency room visits for nearly 500 patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio between 2011 to 2016 to a control group of some 500 children with similar diseases who didn’t receive such experiences.

Participation in the Make-A-Wish program may provide children quality of life relief while reducing hospital visits and health care expenditures, according to researchers led by Dr. Anup Patel of Nationwide Children’s.

Patients who received a wish were 2.5 and 1.9 times more likely to have fewer unplanned hospital admissions and emergency department visits, respectively, according to the study.

“For the first time we are able to quantify the impact of a ‘wish’ using health care utilization data such as emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and costs,” Patel told Reuters Health in a statement. “It matters to patients and families, as we have shown that a ‘wish’ may allow the patient to be home more with their family, not miss school, and save families money in health care costs.”

In the United States and its territories, on average, a wish is granted every 34 minutes, according to the organization.