POLST stands for Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment and has replaced a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate). The POLST was developed to improve the quality of care by creating a system that clearly and effectively identifies patients’ wishes. It helps give seriously ill patients more control over their end-of-life treatment.
It’s printed on double-sided hot pink paper, and follows the patient from home to hospital to rehab and back home.
A POLST is a tool that helps ensure a patient’s treatment wishes are known and will be followed by health care professionals during a medical crisis, when the patient cannot speak for him/herself.
Thoughtful conversations between health care professionals and patients and those close to them to determine what treatments patients do and do not want is a critical component of this end-of-life planning.
A POLST complements the Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD) - it does not replace it. Everyone over 18 years old should have an AHCD to nominate a legal agent to make health care decisions upon incapacity and identify one’s overall medical wishes. An AHCD agent may fill out a POLST on behalf of a patient.
If you have any questions, please contact us to speak to Rebecca Goldfarb who is a POLST trainer.