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POLST

PHYSICIAN’S ORDER FOR LIFE-SUSTAINING TREATMENT(POLST) FORM IN END OF LIFE CARE

POLST form is one of the most important legal documents for end of life care setting. End of Life Care refers to health care, not solely of an individual within the final hours or days of their lives, however lot for all those with a terminal condition that has become advanced, progressive, and incurable. Even once you have written documents, some choices still may not be clear since the documents might not address each state of affairs you’ll face.

There are certain legal documents like Living will, Power of attorney for Healthcare/Healthcare proxy, Durable power of attorney, Diminishing capacity letters, Organ donor designation, Life insurance, Personal property memorandum, Digital assets memorandum required for End of life care setting. But Among them, one of the most important and much talk about document is Physician’s Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment .

A patient in a nursing home or hospital is increasingly likely to be asked to sign a form with a kind-sounding name: Physician’s Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment.

A brightly colored document that is one page, printed on both sides, with boxes to be checked off regarding medical treatment — or the withholding of treatment — the Physician’s Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST), in an instrument for dealing with end-of-life decisions if the patient is disabled. This forms are portable medical orders or medical orders that travel with the patient.

POLST forms are completed by your health care provider after discussing what is important to you, your diagnosis, what is likely to happen in the future and what your treatment options are. A doctor or a physician assistant or a nurse practitioner must sign this form for it to be valid.

All adults should have an advance directive to help identify a good decision maker and provide information about what treatments they want for an unknown medical crisis.  A POLST form is for when you become seriously ill or weak and toward the end of life.  A POLST form gives medical orders to emergency staff based on your current medical situation. POLST forms and advance directives are both advance care plans but they are not the same.

POLST  is called different things in different states e.g., MOLST, MOST, POST but, regardless of the term, a POLST form is a medical order for the specific medical treatments you want during a medical emergency.

But there are certain oppositions to this POLST. Conservative groups like Life Site News, the Media Research Center and the Catholic Medical Association argue that there will be unintended consequences or potential abuses encouraged  by POLST adoption. Any document determining a patient’s quality of care or life-ending choices carries moral and ethical dilemmas, and POLST instruments have been criticized for this by the Catholic Medical Association.

If you would like to know more about POLST form, join our upcoming webinar on June 13, 2019.

Legal Aspects of End of Life Care

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POLST form is one of the most important legal documents for end of life care setting. End of Life Care refers to health care, not solely of an individual within the final hours or ...
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