What’s the Difference Between a POLST Form and an Advanced Directive?

March 2019 Newsletter – What’s the difference between a POLST form and an Advance Directive?

March Newsletter 2019

A POLST Form is NOT an Advance Directive
By Lynn St. Louis, Managing Partner at Elder Law Group PLLC

 
If you have been hospitalized for advanced progressive or terminal illness, you might have been asked to fill out a POLST form to specify the type of care you would like in an emergency medical situation. 

It comes up often during our workshops that people assume having a POLST form is the same as having an Advance Directive. Both documents are important, but serve different purposes. Let’s look at what a POLST is and how it’s different from an Advance Directive. 
 

What is a POLST Form?

POLST stands for Physicians Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment. A POLST form is basically a more detailed DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) Order. In Washington this form is called POLST, but depending on what state you live in it may go by one of the following names:
  • MOST (Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment)
  • MOLST (Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment)
  • POST (Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment)
  • TPOPP (Transportable Physician Orders for Patient Preferences)
Once signed, doctors, emergency first responders, and other health care professionals must honor the instructions on your POLST form, whether you are at the hospital or in your own home.

The form is often printed on brightly colored paper. The color varies state to state, and in Washington they are a bright lime green.

POLST forms detail the level of treatment you would like to receive regarding CPR and other medical interventions such as:
  • Comfort measures only, such as medication, with instructions that you should not be transferred to a hospital.
  • Limited additional interventions, such as medical treatment, IV fluids and cardiac monitor, with instructions that you may be transferred to a hospital if needed, but should avoid intensive care if possible.
  • Full treatment, such as intubation or advanced airway interventions, mechanical ventilation (breathing machine), and cardioversion (to re-set the heart’s rhythm), with instructions that you should be transferred to a hospital if needed, and may be transferred to intensive care.
  • Antibiotics: You can choose to receive no antibiotics, limited use of antibiotics with comfort as the goal, or full use of antibiotics.
  • Artificially administered hydration/nutrition: You can choose to receive no hydration and artificial nutrition by tube, a trial period of hydration and artificial nutrition by tube, or long-term artificial hydration and nutrition by tube.

How is a POLST Form different from an Advance Directive (Living Will)?

There are similarities between a POLST form and an Advance Directive, (also known as a Living Will). Both specify the type and level of treatment you would like at the end of your life.  However, there are key differences that you should be aware of.
  1. POLST forms are medical orders. A POLST form is signed by your physician or Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) and therefore is a medical order.

    By contrast, an Advance Directive is a legal document most effective when it is a part of your Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare. It spells out your end of life wishes and grants authority to your Attorney-in-Fact (AKA Healthcare Agent) to make decisions for you if you are unable to make those decisions yourself.

    A POLST form’s purpose is limited, but important – to give clear and immediate direction in the event of a healthcare emergency. However, it cannot act as a substitute for an Advance Directive or a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare.
     
  2. POLST forms address only current, specific medical situations. An Advance Directive can be filled out at any time in your life, and addresses how you would generally like to be cared for at the end of your life. POLST forms however, are usually filled out once health starts to decline. 
A POLST form is an important document to have if you do not want to be resuscitated. When people think of DNR or DNAR, it’s the POLST form they are thinking of. It’s the only form that emergency responders will look for, so be sure to have it in a visible place in your home, such as on your refrigerator.

However, it cannot replace an Advance Directive.  An Advance Directive with a Durable Power of Attorney will make sure that your Healthcare Agent has authority to make decisions for you if you can’t. POLST forms don’t grant that kind of authority.
 
For more information about POLST, Advance Directives, and Durable Powers of Attorney, call Elder Law Group at 509-468-0551.  
For more information about Estate Planning Documents everyone needs CALL ELDER LAW GROUP TODAY!
Meet Our Team
 

 

Jo joined our firm in 2018 and brings 15+ years of experience in Estate Planning with her. Due to her experience, Jo understands the complexity of Estate Planning and wants to ensure each client’s experience is positive and beneficial. In addition to Estate Planning skills, Jo has extensive experience in the probate process and knows the necessity of having clear and concise information. Jo has three grown daughters. She enjoys spending her time with her two English Bulldogs who are quite demanding of her attention, and it goes without saying they are quite spoiled!

UPCOMING
Spokane Events


Estate Planning Workshops
Asset Protection Estate Planning Workshop
 
 

Planning ahead allows you to document your wishes and make the best decisions for your future. If you’ve been putting off planning for your senior years, now is the time to take steps to ensure your voice will be heard.

Join Elder Law Group for one of our comprehensive Workshops, based upon The Handbook for Washington Seniors published by www.legalvoice.org
 
At each workshop, Lynn St. Louis, Managing Partner of Elder Law Group PLLC will cover important Long-Term Care planning issues that impact seniors, the Estate Planning Documents everyone should have, as well as information about qualifying for Medicaid. We will discuss the tools you need to protect your future.
 
 
South Hill Library
3324 S Perry St· Spokane, WA 99203
Thursday, March 7th, 2019, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
 
Spokane Valley Library
12004 E Main Ave · Spokane Valley, WA 99206
Thursday, March 14th, 2019, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
 
Indian Trail Library
4909  W Barnes · Spokane, WA 99208
Thursday, March 28, 2019, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
 
Join us for any of these public educational workshops. Seating is limited – Call (509) 468-0551 or go to our website to RSVP.
CLICK HERE TO RESERVE YOUR SPOT OR CALL (509) 468-0551
UPCOMING
Tri-Cities Events 


Estate Planning Workshops
Planning ahead allows you to document your wishes and make the best decisions for your future. If you’ve been putting off planning for your senior years, now is the time to take steps to ensure your voice will be heard.

Join Elder Law Group for one of our Workshops
 
At each workshop, Attorney Liz Wallace will cover important Long-Term Care planning issues that impact seniors, the Estate Planning Documents everyone should have, and information about qualifying for Medicaid. We will discuss the tools you need to protect your future.

Affinity at Southridge
5207 W Hilebrand Blvd Kennewick, WA 99338
Thursday, March 21st, 2019, 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
 
CLICK HERE TO RESERVE YOUR SPOT OR CALL (509) 468-0551
More Senior Events in Washington
In addition to attending one of our events, you may want to check out one of these wonderful opportunities below!

Spokane:


________________________________________________________

Using Art to Solve Crime

Southside Senior Center, 3151 E. 27th Ave, Spokane WA 99223
Wednesday, March 13th, 2019 
5:30-7:30 PM
$10 per person 

Click here to read more!

Northwest BackFest – Opening Concert
Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, 127 E. 12th Ave at Grand Blvd, Spokane WA 99202
Sunday, March 3rd, 2019 
3:00 PM
$35 per person 

Click here to read more!

SCC Craft Fair
Spokane Community College, 1810 N Greene St · Spokane, WA 99217
Saturday, March 2nd, 2019 
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Free

Click here to read more!
 
Tri-Cities:


________________________________________________________


Custer’s Spring Arts and Crafts Show
Trac Center, 6600 Burden Blvd. Pasco, WA 99301
Friday March 22nd – Sunday March 24th, 2019
 10:00 am to 8:00 PM

$7 for adults, 12 and under free
Click here to read more!

Mid-Columbia Master Singers – Youth Spring Concert
CBC Theater, 20th Ave. Pasco, WA
99301
Monday March 11th
 6:30 pm 

Free admission, reservations are recommended.
Click here to read more!

 

We are here to help!

Have a question or need to find a resource?
Check out our 
resource page for assistance.

Still not sure what to do?
Give us a call and let us guide you (509) 468-0551.

Empowering Seniors’ Futures ®

At Elder Law Group we Empower Seniors’ Futures through Asset Protection Estate Planning™. We make sure our clients’ voices are heard and their assets protected.

Whether you are at the beginning of retirement and planning for the future or need assistance with Long-Term Care now, Elder Law Group provides resources and a plan to give you the best quality of life possible.

 
With the complexities of the social and financial world we live in today, a traditional Estate Plan cannot protect you against Long-Term Care costs. Let Elder Law Group help give you the peace of mind you deserve through an Asset Protection Estate Plan.

Disclaimer: This newsletter is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice to the viewer or user. Use of this newsletter and its contents does not create or establish an attorney-client relationship or privilege of any nature between the user and owner.

Like us? Please give us a review! 

Google     Facebook     Yelp
Lynn’s Avvo     Jonas’ Avvo     Liz’s Avvo    
Copyright © 2019 Elder Law Group PLLC, All rights reserved.


Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.