Dream FAQ

Dream Foundation, the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults, 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 32,000 final Dreams over the past 25 years.

What is a Dream?

Dreams can range from basic needs items, such as a lift chair or new computer, to a vacation, a bedside reunion or meeting a personal hero and everything in between—any request that provides joy and relief. Through this non-medical form of end-of-life compassionate care, Dreams provide inspiration, comfort and closure to Dream recipients and their families.

Do I need to be a hospice patient to receive a Dream?

You do not need to be a hospice patient to receive a Dream. We require that the applicant’s life expectancy is 12 months or less. We have a hospice application for hospice patients, and a general application for patients still pursuing active treatment.

Who qualifies for a Dream?

A Dream applicant must:

  • Be 18 or older
  • Be diagnosed with a life-limiting illness
  • Have a life expectancy of 12 months or less or lose the ability to actively participate in the Dream experience due to progressive disease within 12 months
  • Lack the resources to fulfill the Dream themselves
  • Live in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii

Does it matter where I live to get a Dream fulfilled?

Dream applicants must live in the United States (including Hawaii and Alaska).

Where can I travel to on my Dream?

We can provide travel to anywhere in the United States (including Hawaii and Alaska) depending on where you live, your health and financial status, and to Puerto Rico. On a case-by-case basis we may allow one-way travel to countries outside of the U.S. for patients who wish to die at home and consider travel to other U.S. territories.

Who can be part of my Dream?

Dream Foundation will fund Dreams that generally include the following people in the experience:

  • Dream applicant
  • One adult caregiver (does not have to be a family member)
  • Applicant’s children under 18 living in the home

What is an emergency Dream?

An emergency Dream is for an applicant whose life expectancy is less than two months. Emergency Dreams are considered on a case-by-case basis and must be approved by our medical review board. Dream applicants are responsible for any medical emergencies that could arise during the Dream. Requests can be faxed to Dream Foundation, but the original application must still be mailed. Please call Dream Foundation at 888-4DREAMS for the fax number.

  • Emergency Dreams are processed the business day we receive them and verified as soon as possible.
  • If an emergency Dream is for a bedside reunion or similar request, we are usually able to fulfill those within 24 to 48 hours.
  • Emergency Dreams cannot be celebrity Dreams.
  • If an emergency Dream requires travel by the applicant, we will consider a roadtrip within limited boundaries only.

If I want to visit family or have family visit me, what is the length of stay provided and how many family members can be included?

  • We can provide 3-4 nights in one hotel room. If lodging is not part of the Dream, there is no limit to the length of stay.
  • Dream Foundation can provide airfare for 2-3 people visiting a Dream applicant.
  • We provide transportation for the Dream applicant, their caregiver and children under 18 who live with the applicant.

What is included in a travel Dream?

  • Economy class air transportation within the U.S. (including Hawaii and Alaska) and Puerto Rico, based on location and at Dream Foundation’s discretion
  • Lodging (one hotel room/family room only)
  • Amusement park admission
  • On a case-by-case basis, we may assist with the cost of a one-way ticket outside the U.S.

What do I need to travel?

  • A major credit card or debit card with enough funds to cover any unforeseen expenses, such as the cost associated with a hospital stay and travel home in case of an emergency. Dream Foundation does not ask for the credit card number.
  • For lodging, a credit card is needed at check-in to cover incidental expenses. If using a debit card for hotel check in, the hotel may place a hold on the card. The blocked funds are usually released about a week after the stay.
  • Valid government issued picture ID
  • Health care professional’s approval for travel. Dream Foundation will contact the applicant’s health care professional to assess medical needs and ensure travel is safe.
  • Ground transportation to and from the airport and renting a vehicle will be the responsibility of the Dream recipient.
  • Funds to cover ground transportation, meals, souvenirs and other expenses that come up during a trip.

What if I want to meet a celebrity?

Celebrity Dreams are difficult to coordinate, and may take many months to make arrangements. Some requirements for celebrity Dreams include:

  • Dream recipients must be able to travel to meet the celebrity and must meet our travel requirements.
  • We request the Dream recipient is able to communicate with the celebrity.
  • Before beginning a celebrity Dream request, a trained volunteer will meet with the Dream recipient to learn why meeting the celebrity is important.

I do not file taxes; can I still apply? What’s the income qualification?

There is no set income qualification, but Dream Foundation’s mission is to help those who cannot fulfill their Dream on their own, and finances may not be the issue. For example, if a Dream request is to meet a celebrity, an applicant may need assistance making the connection.

We look at each application individually and take into consideration taxable income, how many people live in the household, geographic location and financial hardship. If the Dream applicant does not file taxes, please provide a social security disability statement or a bank statement.

How long does it take until I get my Dream?

The application processing takes three weeks, followed by the verification process, which can take from a few days to several months depending on the response time of the medical team. Once the Dream is approved, please allow about three weeks to arrange air travel. We cannot rush Dream requests for reasons other than medical necessity.

Emergency Dream requests are processed the business day they are received and verified as soon as possible.

What if I have special medical needs?

We do not assist with medical needs, such as ambulance transportation, oxygen, medical equipment, nurses and aids, dialysis, etc. We do not arrange or provide hospice care away from home, dialysis treatments or oxygen needs. Dream recipients are responsible for any medical emergency during the Dream.

What if I want dentures?

Dream Foundation will work to find a dentist that will provide dentures. However, our policies prohibit providing medical procedures, such as pulling teeth. For more information on Dream requests we do not fulfill, visit our application guidelines.

Tips for completing the application…

  • Anyone can complete the application, but the Dream applicant (or if the applicant is unable to sign, their power of attorney) must sign it to ensure this is the patient’s request.
  • Anyone can write the Dream letter, as long as it reflects the applicant’s Dream.
  • The applicant must be able to communicate their Dream, so an unconscious or unresponsive patient, does not qualify for a Dream.
  • If the applicant had a wish through Make-A-Wish Foundation as a child, please provide us with the date and type of that wish in order to determine eligibility.
  • If the applicant’s medical team will not provide the information in Step 4 or provide a life expectancy, please complete the application. As long as the diagnosis is provided, Dream Foundation will work with the applicant and medical team to determine eligibility.
  • If the applicant’s life expectancy does not meet Dream Foundation’s requirement, they may apply again later. Dream Foundation keeps applications for one year and only needs the medical information of the application resubmitted within that time frame.
  • If the applicant does not want to know their life expectancy, the medical professional can mail or fax the medical information separately. Please call us for our fax number.
  • The original application must be mailed to Dream Foundation, 1528 Chapala St., Suite 304, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 or be submitted online.
  • We accept faxed applications for emergency requests only. If the Dream applicant’s life expectancy is less than two months, please call Dream Foundation at 888-4DREAMS for the fax number. The original application must still be mailed.
  • Please submit all required information; incomplete applications will be denied.

What should I include in my application letter?

We want to learn about you, your Dream, and the loved ones around you that it may affect. The more detail you can offer, the better. We want to know why your Dream is important and unique to you. Help us understand how this final Dream would make an impact for you and/or those you love.

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