Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment

On October 1, 2014, changes to the Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) took effect. Humboldt County healthcare providers and patients alike should be aware.

POLST is a physician’s order, signed by both a doctor and a patient, that lays out the medical treatment a patient wishes to receive at the end of life. One of the benefits of POLST is that it encourages and facilitates conversations between healthcare providers and patients about end-of-life treatments, and it helps patients make their wishes known to providers and family members.

The changes to POLST include sections B and C of the form, which identify the medical interventions desired by the patient and the artificial nutrients the patient wishes to be administered. The new POLST form can be found at POLST California, which has a downloadable version of the form in many languages. The new forms should be used by healthcare professionals when patient POLSTs are updated.