Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)
A Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) is a medical document that outlines a person's preferences for end-of-life care and treatment, and the type of medical intervention they would like during a medical emergency if they lack the capacity to say so themselves.
The purpose of the POLST is to ensure that a patient's wishes for life-sustaining treatments are respected and followed by hospitals, nursing homes, and emergency services.
It is intended for those who have advanced serious illnesses or are in frail health, and is typically completed in collaboration with a physician. The document itself is often provided by a healthcare provider.
The POLST form addresses specific medical interventions, such as CPR, mechanical ventilation, intubation, artificial nutrition or hydration, as well as Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) orders.
Unlike an Advance Healthcare Directives or Living Will, which are generally broader in scope, the POLST form is a medical order that becomes part of a person's medical record.