“Is a POLST different from an Advanced Health Care Directive?”
The answer is YES - An Advanced Health Care Directive allows you to choose the person you want to speak for you, and provides a general guide to what you want.
A POLST form is different because:
POLST is for the seriously ill;
POLST tells your exact wishes about certain medical treatments;
POLST is a signed medical order that your health care team can act upon, and
POLST goes with you to your home, your hospital, or your long-term care facility. It goes where you go.
Everyone should have an Advanced Health Care Directive. Seriously ill people should have a POLST and an Advanced Health Care Directive.
Doctors say that any seriously ill patient should have a POLST form. Filling out a POLST is completely up to you. It’s your choice.
The POLST form must be signed by your doctor and you or the person you pick to make decisions for you. The information on the form can be changed by you and your doctor.
POLST makes your treatment wishes known to doctors and other members of your health care team. Too often, patients near the end of their lives may get treatment they do not want. POLST gives you a way to tell doctors, nurses, and other health care team members what types of treatment you want.
POLST makes your wishes clear to your family members and caregivers. Sometimes, family members have their own ideas about what types of treatment their loved ones would want. POLST makes sure your family members and caregivers know exactly what treatments you do and do not want. No one has to guess or argue.
The POLST form lists some of the medical treatments you can choose to have or not have, including:
- Comfort Measures
- Intravenous (IV) Fluids
- Artificial Nutrition/Tube Feeding
It is important for you to understand what each of these options means and to talk with your doctor before making any decision. You can then make an informed choice regarding the treatment options you want and don’t want.
If you want to find out more about POLST, give me a call for a consultation.