RESOURCES FOR HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS

"POLST" is a national movement, implemented at the state level, that supports patient autonomy regarding treatment preferences during a medical emergency. As a health care provider, you have a critical role in identifying appropriate patients for the POLST model, implementing the POLST conversation process and completing the POLST portable medical order.

Guidance Document for Health Care Professionals

OVERVIEW

POLST stands for “Practitioner Orders for Life - Sustaining Treatment”. A POLST form is a signed medical order that travels with the patient to assure that a patient’s treatment preferences are honored across settings of care. The POLST form is designed to ensure that seriously ill or frail patients can choose the treatments they want or do not want and that their wishes are documented and honored.

The POLST decision-making process and resulting medical orders are intended for people of any age who are at risk for a life-threatening clinical event because they have a serious life-limiting medical condition, which may include advanced frailty. The POLST form should not be used to limit treatment for patients with chronic, stable medical or functionally disabling problems who have many years of life expectancy.

POLST is designed to:

The POLST form is intended to be completed after patients and their health care professionals/providers discuss together: the patient’s current medical condition(s) and prognosis; possible causes of deterioration and indicated medical responses/treatments; the risks, burdens and benefits of those treatments; and the patient’s own values and goals for treatment. The discussions are of primary importance to the POLST process as the form serves as a potential guide for these discussions. Completed forms are a product of the discussions and are signed by the patient or legal representative, an attending physician, and a witness. The completed form is an actionable medical order.

Education & Training Tools

TRAINING PRE/POST TEST

The POLST Training Test can be used to confirm that attendees at an educational event have captured information accurately.

CONVERSATION DEMOSTRATION

A demonstration of the POLST conversation between a practitioner and patient to learn how physicians elicit detailed answers from patients about their end-of-life treatment choices for recording on the POLST form. This conversation is the key to making the POLST program work for patients and their healthcare providers. Developed by Coalition for Compassionate Care of California

PATIENT SENARIOS

The vignettes are helpful for training attendees to incorporate POLST into real life senarios, and to ensure understanding of the materials.

ILLINOIS HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION WEBINAR SERIES RECORDINGS

Click here to watch “ POLST 101 ” (use case - sensitive password zDsSGPP7)

Click here to watch “POLST Communication Skills ” ( use case - sensitive password: pTt2NpZY)

Click here to watch “Using Technology to Advance POLST Quality” (use case - sens itive password : wJJcM2gM)

EVIDENCE FOR USING POLST TO IMPROVE HEALTH QUALITY OUTCOMES

Download the POLST Form

The POLST form is available in English and Spanish. To ensure emergency personnel can understand and follow the orders, it is recommended that the POLST form be presented in English. The Spanish version of the form is helpful for educational purposes.

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