If you’ve been planning for end-of-life care and conversations, you may have thought about Power of Attorney or Advance Directives. Another document to consider, along that vein, is a MOLST/POLST document.
These documents are also known as Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) or Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST), and have different names depending on which state you’re in. A select number of states have the MOLST/POLST as a part of state law. However, hospitals or doctors outside that state may accommodate your usage for one. These documents are one-page outlines of desired standards of care for your loved ones’ doctors.
Advance Directive and MOLST/POLST
While anyone may have an advance directive, MOLST/POLST documents are really only appropriate for patients who are estimated to be in their final year of life.
An Advance Directive can be completed at any time, and allows you to assign a healthcare proxy to make medical decisions when you are not able to. It can also provide guidance about what kind of care you would like. Talking to your loved ones about the questions raised by an Advance Directive can be difficult. However, these conversations are a critical part of being prepared for medical decisions.
A MOLST/POLST is intended for your doctors. It outlines many of the same choices as the Advance Directive. You should fill it out after a major diagnosis, and have a doctor look over it with you.
Neither document is a replacement for the other. An Advance Directive isn’t an order to doctors, nor is a MOLST/POLST able to assign a health-care proxy. Having both will allow both doctors and your healthcare proxy to give you care that aligns with your wishes.
How to Fill Out & File a POLST/MOLST?
If your state is among those to have adopted a POLST/MOLST plan, you should directly ask your doctor about it. Since it is a medical form, your doctor and healthcare surrogate will talk to you and help you fill out the form. In order to be “active,” your form must be endorsed by your doctor.
If your state is not among those to have POLST/MOLST plans, you should still ask your doctor about setting up some kind of treatment plan that accommodates your wishes.
As always with any document, you should scan and store your copy of your MOLST/POLST on Jazmine.com.