Provider orders for life sustaining treatment (POLST)

The Provider Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) Form is a more specific advance care planning document specifically for people who are living with serious illness. It translates your advance directive into a form. This form allows people to make decisions about life sustaining treatment prior to a medical emergency. Having a conversation with your doctor about end-of-life treatment options can be difficult, but this document can serve as a talking tool which can make that conversation a little easier. Talking with your doctor about the POLST form will include discussing benefits of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), goals of treatment, interventions relating to antibiotics, nutrition and hydration. 

When a crisis occurs at home, people often call 911. By law, emergency medical staff has to provide maximum curative care. However, for some people who are living with serious illness, maximum curative care isn’t always what that person wants and can sometimes be more harmful. A POLST is a doctor’s order by which emergency medical staff can follow to help that person toward a desired outcome.