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Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment

Clarkston Legal July 9, 2016

POLST is an end-of-life planning approach or outlook that emphasizes a dying or critically ill patient’s preference relative to the type of care they receive. The movement is sweeping the country and is currently under active consideration by the Michigan Legislature.

POLST utilizes a medical order that states the patient’s wishes for treatment. Without the executed order, paramedics and physicians are required to provide all available forms of medical treatment. With the completed form, physicians must follow the patient’s advanced directive.

The POLST form assures patients that their health care providers will provide only those treatments and procedures authorized in advance. The form is designed to reduce irreversible medical errors that often occur in heated moments of acute medical trauma.

Only patients with serious and mostly terminal health conditions should consider executing a POLST order. One rule-of-thumb used to determine whether a POLST order is appropriate is whether the patient is expected to survive for one year or less.

For patients that are healthy, other estate planning tools are available such as an advanced directive, a health care power of attorney, or even a guardianship.

If you or a family member need to review your estate plan, contact our office to schedule a free consultation.