Honoring your wishes about the type and amount of health care desired if you are very ill, is a key element in providing quality end-of-life care. The Advance Directive that you develop can be used to design these specific care orders.
The Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) or Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) are forms that take your wishes for treatment and write them as clear medical orders to be honored by your doctor and health care facility. These are actionable medical orders that move along with you between different care settings in order that your wishes for life-sustaining treatment and CPR will be clearly indicated.
The form is signed by your physician and you or your designated decision-maker. The form should accompany you if you go to the emergency room, hospital, or other nursing care facility.
Currently POLST or MOLST is recognized in seven states, however state by state recognition and acceptance is growing rapidly. Even in states where there are no formal POLST/MOLST programs, the form can be used as a guide for physicians to discuss life-sustaining treatment options with their patients.
This document can go hand in hand with your Advance Directive. Five Wishes, offered through Aging with Dignity, (http://www.agingwithdignity.org/five-wishes.php) is an Advance Directive that is honored in over 40 states. There are also State Specific Advance Directives available through Caring Connections, (http://www.caringinfo.org/stateaddownload )
To view a sample POLST form, click on the link below.