POLST Updates and FAQs

Important Update on Practitioner Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)

Practitioner Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) was developed to help to ensure that the care delivered at the end of life is consistent with patients’ wishes.

The POLST form is signed by a physician or advanced practice nurse along with the patient or surrogate. The POLST form translates the values and goals expressed in an advance directive into an actionable medical order that stays valid across care settings, whether the patient is in a hospital, nursing home, or home.

Unlike an advance directive, the POLST form does not require activation or interpretation. Health care professionals have a legal responsibility to honor POLST orders which include scope of treatment, preferences for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and artificial nutrition.

The POLST model relies on effective communication between the patient and health care provider to ensure that decisions are made based on a clear understanding of the medical condition, prognosis and goals of care. POLST is not meant to replace an advance directive that should be completed by all adult patients. Instead, POLST is appropriate for patients facing serious or life-limiting illness and for those patients with advanced frailty.

For more info, visit http://www.njha.com/quality-patient-safety/advanced-care-planning/polst/.

Educational POLST Module: This is a module that is available on the Meridian Health eLearning system, Health Stream.