Levels of Recognition
POLST exists at some level in 50 states and Washington DC: Existing is a spectrum from just having legislation passed, to implementing POLST with regional pilots, to having implemented POLST so it is standard of care within that state. While we have come a long way since the first POLST form use in 1994, we still have a long way to go before POLST is standard of care and available across the country.
In 2017, National POLST started defining the term “POLST” as a “portable medical order” primarily because what the acronym stood for, physician orders for life-sustaining treatment, no longer supported the POLST concept:
- Many have thought the term “life-sustaining treatment” is value-laden language;
- National POLST promotes a team focused approach to the POLST process (see #6) and using the term “physician” is too narrow and ignores the other providers involved in the POLST process; and
- More than just “physicians” can sign a POLST form (see signature document).
POLST Programs choose their own names. The list includes:
- POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, Portable Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, or Provider Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment)
- POST (Provider Orders for Scope of Treatment)
- MOLST (Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment)
- MOST (Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment)
- TPOPP (Transportable Physician Orders for Patient Preference)
- COLST (Clinician Order for Life Sustaining Treatment)
- DMOST (Delaware Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment)
- IPOST (Iowa Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment)
- TOPP (Transportable Orders for Patient Preferences)
- LaPOST (Louisiana Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment)
- OkPOLST (Oklahoma Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment)
- PAPOLST (Pennsylvania Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment)
- WyoPOLST (Wyoming Providers Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment)
- SAPO (State Authorized Portable Orders)
- SMOST (Summary of Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment)
For simplicity, “POLST” is commonly used when referring to POLST forms or POLST programs in general.
Learn more about the POLST program in your state by clicking on that state in the map above.