California POLST Paradigm Program Recognized as Mature by National POLST Paradigm Task Force

The National POLST Paradigm Task Force is proud to recognize California as the third state with a Mature POLST Paradigm Program; a POLST Paradigm Program is recognized as mature when the state’s coalition can demonstrate that the POLST Paradigm is the standard method of advance care planning for persons with advanced illness or frailty near the end of life. In California, the POLST Paradigm Program is run by the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California under the direction of CEO Judy Thomas, JD.

The Coalition for Compassionate Care of California has shown that POLST Forms are used by 50 percent or more of hospitals, nursing homes or nursing home residents, and hospices in each region of the state, and by more than 75 percent of the state’s 30+ emergency medical services authorities. The California program has developed and shared effective educational modules for training professionals to have thoughtful goals of care conversations with patients, and holds informative webinars every month.

“POLST is designed to improve patient care, ensuring patients receive the treatments they want and avoid those they don’t,” said Amy Vandenbroucke, executive director of the National POLST Paradigm. “We are grateful that throughout the state of California, patients with serious illness or frailty in what may be their last year of life can work with medical professionals to make their treatment wishes known.”

The Coalition for Compassionate Care of California sponsored the legislation which established POLST in California. AB 3000 (Wolk) was passed unanimously and went into effect in January 2009. In 2015, the Coalition sponsored two POLST-related bills, both of which were signed by Governor Jerry Brown. AB 637 (Campos) allows nurse practitioners and physician assistants – under the supervision of a physician and within their scope of practice – to sign POLST Forms and make them actionable medical orders. SB 19 (Wolk) requires the State to establish and operate a statewide digital registry for the purpose of collecting POLST Forms received from health care providers.

“We’re excited to join Oregon and West Virginia as the only states recognized as having a Mature POLST Program,” said Judy Thomas, JD, CEO of the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California. “Our Mature status would not be possible without the many volunteers who supported POLST legislation in California, and the grassroots efforts of the 27 local POLST coalitions who worked with us to design and spread the POLST education curriculum now used by many POLST programs around the country.”

» Details on California’s POLST Program (click on California).
» California’s POLST Form (English and 12 foreign language translations)
» Announcement from the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California