The POLST Care Continuum Toolkit


Using the POLST Paradigm to Honor Patient Treatment Wishes Across the Care Continuum, or the Care Continuum Toolkit, produced by National POLST in 2017, is a manual providing guidance on how to implement POLST at health care facilities. A general overview is provided, relevant to all care settings, and five care settings have specific chapters devoted to them—Primary Care, Inpatient Hospital, Trauma (EMS), Nursing Home, and Hospice.

Why Was this Toolkit Created?

This toolkit will help facilities implement POLST by addressing the needs of specific patient populations and professionals in primary care offices, hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, and EMS settings. In addition to educating about the benefits and value of POLST , this toolkit provides setting-specific resources for POLST implementation to address the specialized needs of implementing POLST in different types of care facilities.

The goal of this toolkit is to provide the necessary information and resources for facilities, organizations and systems to implement a quality POLST process that supports patients and families who want to access or currently use POLST. National POLST encourages all staff to:

  • Review the toolkit (download it below);
  • Refer to the information on [link url=”/”][/link];
  • Sign up for our eNewsletter (; and
  • Connect with your [link url=”/programs-in-your-state/”]state POLST Program[/link].

How Should You Use this Toolkit?

This toolkit Overview provides information that is common across all care settings; the Chapters build upon this introduction to provide specific details in five different settings. This Overview should be read first before going to any specific chapter.

A caveat—you need to understand your state laws (this comparison chart may be helpful) and adapt these resources to your care setting. The information provided in this toolkit should be helpful for you and feedback is always welcome. This document will be updated as feedback and additional questions are received. Please share what worked, provide sample policies, or any remaining questions.

If you have questions not answered by this toolkit, or are concerned about misuse of POLST Forms or implementation of POLST, please contact the National POLST Office at [email][/email].


Webinar introductions for each chapter are available at or at our YouTube Care Continuum Toolkit Playlist. The Overview webinar should be watched before any of the other webinars, just as the Overview chapter should be reviewed before any of the other chapters.


» Download entire Toolkit (1 MB PDF)

Acknowledgments, Questions

This project was supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts.
Questions? Email us at [email][/email].