What You Should Know about POLST

As a patient, it is essential that you work hand-in-hand with your medical providers to choose the right treatments to match your preferences. Personalized medical care is a growing concern for many people who are in the later years of their life, and individuals experiencing serious illness. If you fall within either of these categories, then it is essential that you talk to your doctor about your POLST.

What is a POLST?

POLST is an acronym for “Physicians Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment.” This advanced directive allows people who are seriously ill or in the later stages of life to put together written wishes directing their medical care. These orders are signed by the doctor, giving all medical professionals guidelines to follow when medical care is administered.

The POLST follows you as you transition from one level of care to another, such as from the hospital to a rehabiliation center or assisted living community. If something happens that requires medical intervention, then this order will help the medical community to know if they should administer potentially life-saving treatments, such as CPR, or allow natural death.

Typically, the POLST is completed on a bright pink piece of paper, and it is often placed in a visible location such as on the refrigerator. If emergency personnel come into the home, then they will see the doctor’s orders that should be followed.

Take Control Over Your Medical Care

A POLST gives you the opportunity to take control over your medical care, even if you aren’t in a position to make decisions in the moment of need. Patients who are seriously ill might choose to decline CPR or other medical treatments that may delay natural death. The POLST lists the patient’s preferences about CPR, the administration of IVs, using a ventilator, and artificial nutrition administered via a tube.

Filling out a POLST is a voluntary step for each patient. But, if the form has been completed, then medical providers are legally required to abide by the requests of the patient.

Do you need help managing your care and medical wishes? Our team at Windward Life Care is here to provide the support and advocacy that you need. Contact us right away to learn more about how we can support you in the efforts to manage your health.