The POLST program encourages patients and their health care professionals to talk about the treatment patients want as they decline in health. Treatment choices can then be documented as medical orders on a bright pink form that follow patients across care settings.
POLST = Portable Medical Orders. POLST forms are medical orders that travel with the patient.
POLST is for people who are seriously ill or have advanced frailty. If you are healthy, an advance directive is appropriate.
POLST forms communicate treatment wishes. It shares what you want during an expected emergency (based on your current medical condition) and your goals of treatment with other providers.
POLST forms are medical orders and must be completed and signed by your doctor, nurse practitioner or physician assistant. The form is completed by your health care provider after discussing what is important to you, your current diagnosis, what is likely to happen in the future and what your treatment options are. Since the POLST form is how your provider tells another provider what you want, the words and phrases on the form use medical terminology. The POLST form was not created for patients to fill out and complete: your provider should be the person filling it out after talking with you.
POLST is voluntary. It should be your choice to have a POLST form —you should never be forced to have a POLST form.