Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST)
POLSTs give patients with a serious illness increased control in how their
end-of-life wishes are honored. Your POLST order is on a brightly colored
form and needs to be signed by both you and your doctor to be valid. They
are intended to complement advance directives rather than replace them.
- Guide decisions of emergency medical services outside of the hospital setting.
- Provide specific information about the use of ventilators and attempts at cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
- Should be completed only for those experiencing serious illness and have specific requests about end-of-life care.
- Need to be kept in a location visible to medical first responders (paramedics). Your doctor may keep a copy, and it is helpful if the hospital has a copy in your medical record.
- The POLST can be cancelled by you at any time. It can be changed and resigned by you and your doctor.
Where can the POLST form be found? Any nurses station within the hospital will have this form as will your doctor’s office.