What is a POLST? Do I Need One?
A Provider Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form was developed by the Minnesota Medical Association for those who have been diagnosed with a serious illness. It includes more specific information regarding your treatment preferences and is signed by you and your doctor.
How It Differs from a Health Care Directive
While a health care directive includes information about what you would like at the end of life regarding ventilator use or artificial nutrition, the POLST focuses on other types of care, like transfer to a hospital or use of antibiotics.
In the event of an emergency, the POLST provides clear orders for medical personnel to follow based on your wishes. It can be followed at home, in a skilled nursing facility, a long-term care facility and in the hospital.
In Minnesota, the POLST has three sections:
- Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)—In this section, you decide if you do or do not want CPR if you have no pulse and are not breathing.
- Goals of Treatment—Choose from three levels of medical interventions, ranging from receiving only care that relieves pain and suffering to receiving all intensive medical care available.
- Interventions and Treatment—Determine if you want to receive antibiotic treatment, tube feeding or IV fluid administration.