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In an important step towards greater standardization and broader reach of portable medical order documentation for those with serious illness, this week the National POLST Paradigm released the first national POLST form.
POLST forms are medical orders that specify the treatments an individual wants during a medical emergency. POLST forms (sometimes called MOLST, MOST, or POST forms) are appropriate for patients who are considered to be at risk for a life-threatening clinical event because they have a serious life-limiting medical condition, which may include advanced frailty, and help ensure that all providers honor a patient’s wishes when they are not able to make their own decisions and are transitioning between clinical settings.
Having a national form that can more easily be adopted across states should support efforts to enhance patient-and-family centered care and reduce barriers to honoring individual treatment wishes. Furthermore, a standardized national form will facilitate more efficient research and quality assurance activity, as well as simplify public and provider education efforts. As more states adopt the national POLST form, the goal is to ease the path to greater understanding of the importance of documenting seriously ill patients’ wishes. To aid understanding of the national form, two new patient guides have been developed and can be found here.