POLST for Professionals
POLST stands for Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment. Your state may call it something else.
The POLST Paradigm is:
- A process that includes a conversation and, if the individual wants one, a POLST form. Health care professionals should complete it after talking with the individual about his/her diagnosis, prognosis, treatment options, and goals of care.
- Voluntary. Like all health care decisions, POLST form orders should never be required or mandated.
- A national movement that promotes the rights of seriously ill or frail patients to make informed decisions about medical treatments and to have those preferences honored by health care professionals.
A POLST form is:
- A portable medical order. It is an advance care planning document but it is not an advance directive.
- For those individuals who are seriously ill or frail and whose health care professionals wouldn’t be surprised if they were towards the end of life. Health care professionals do not need to make a terminal diagnosis or guess at life-expectancy: a POLST form is appropriate if the health care professional wouldn’t be surprised if the patient died in the next year.
- An immediately available and recognizable order set in a standardized format that aids emergency personnel during a medical emergency, when time is of the essence for medical decision-making. Learn more about the parts of a POLST form.
The National POLST Paradigm is the entity that:
- Supports and encourages the adoption of the POLST Paradigm by all states, resulting in the consistency of process, improved patient care and greater patient control and direction over the medical treatments they receive.
- Advances the POLST Paradigm through sustainable quality assurance, education, state efforts, and national leadership.