What is Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)?
POLST is a physician order that helps give seriously ill patients more control over their end-of life care. Produced on a distinctive bright pink form and signed by both the doctor and patient or their decision-maker, POLST specifies the types of medical treatment that a patient wishes to receive when they have a progressive illness or towards the end of life. As a result, POLST can prevent unwanted or medically ineffective treatment, reduce patient and family suffering, and help ensure that patients’ wishes are honored.
The decisions documented on the POLST form include whether to:
POLST is designed for seriously ill individuals, or those who are in very poor health, regardless of their age. The form complements an Advance Directive and is not intended to replace that document. An Advance Directive is still necessary to appoint a legal healthcare decision maker, and is recommended for all adults, regardless of their health status.
Information provided by Coalition for Compassionate Care of California (CCCC).
Patients can request the form from their healthcare provider. It is important to discuss your goals of treatment with your healthcare provider so you can decide if POLST is right for you, and how to document your decisions appropriately on the form. The form can also be found at www.caPOLST.org, along with other helpful resources.