Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)

The Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment or POLST form has been adopted by the University of Miami Health System, including UTower/University of Miami Hospital, the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Jackson Health System, including Jackson Memorial Hospital, Jackson North and Jackson South.

POLST is designed to foster improved communication between physicians and patients and to increase clarity and information about patients’ preferences regarding end-of-life care. Generally, the POLST form should be completed for all patients who are very ill or very old. Complete instructions appear on the form and in institutional policies (see below).

Use of the POLST form is increasing nationally, in large part because it is favored by physicians in states where it has been introduced; Some states have laws requiring the use of the form; Florida is not yet one of them. POLST forms may be used in conjunction with ordinary advance directives, which are still strongly encouraged. Advance Directives include living wills and designation of a surrogate. All patients should be urged at the very least to designate a surrogate to make decisions in case the patient cannot.

Note that the State of Florida’s “DO NOT RESUSCITATE ORDER,” the yellow form was designed to be used in out-of-hospital settings and is not generally used as an internal DNR or as an advance directive. This yellow form should be provided to appropriate patients upon discharge.

POLST Resourses

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