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What is a POLST form?

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Quick Answer

A patient completes a POLST form together with his doctor to plan out the kinds of treatment he receives during a medical crisis. POLST stands for physician orders for life sustaining treatment.

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The POLST form is a guarantee that the patient's wishes are followed, even when he cannot speak for himself. When a physician signs the form, he takes on full responsibility for the accuracy of its orders. The POLST form is transferred with the patient to different care settings, such as when he goes from a hospital to hospice. While many states endorse this program, only two states have mature POLST programs, including West Virginia and Oregon. Many states have developing programs, while South Dakota, Nebraska, Arkansas and Alabama have none as of 2015.

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