Clinical Research Article | Published:

Impact of a Make-A-Wish experience on healthcare utilization

Pediatric Research (2018) | Download Citation




To evaluate the impact of receiving a wish from the Make-A-WishR Foundation on (1) patient healthcare utilization and (2) savings benefit measures.

Study design

Make-A-WishR arranges experiences, or “wishes,” to children with progressive, life-threatening, or life-limiting illness. A retrospective, case–control analysis was performed comparing patients who received or did not receive a wish and associated impact on healthcare utilization and costs across 2 years. Healthcare utilization was defined as visits to primary, urgent, emergent care, and planned/unplanned inpatient hospitalizations. We defined wish savings benefit as a decline in the cost of care from years 1 to 2, which exceeded the average cost of a wish in 2016, $10,130.


From 2011 to 2016, 496 Nationwide Children’s Hospital patients received a wish. We matched these patients to 496 controls based on age, gender, disease category, and disease complexity. 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. These decreases were associated with a higher likelihood (2.3-fold and 2.2-fold greater odds) of the wish achieving a savings benefit compared to hospital charges.


Participation in the Make-A-WishR program may provide children quality of life relief while reducing hospital visits and healthcare expenditures.

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Author information


  1. Department of Pediatrics and Neurology, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, FOB 41.55, 700 Children’s Drive, Columbus, OH, 43205, USA

    • Anup D. Patel
    • , Peter Glynn
    • , Ashley M. Falke
    • , Megan Reynolds
    • , Richard Hoyt
    • , Allison Hoynes
    • , Melissa Moore-Clingenpeel
    • , Ann Salvator
    •  & Jennifer J. Moreland


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A.D.P. conceptualized and designed the study and wrote the initial draft of the manuscript. P.G. conceptualized and designed the study and assisted in writing the initial draft of the manuscript. J.J.M. designed the study, aided in analyzing data, and wrote portions of the initial draft. M.R. and R.H. created the SQL code used to abstract data and assisted in writing the initial draft of the manuscript. A.H. conceptualized and designed the study and performed data collection. M.M.-C. and A.S. designed the study and analyzed study data. All authors edited and approved the final manuscript as written and take responsibility for its content.

Competing interests

A.D.P. volunteers as a member of the Medical Advisory Council for MAW America. A.D.P. wrote the first draft of this manuscript. The other authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ashley M. Falke.

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