AMDA Formally Backs Adoption of National POLST Form

July 17, 2020

The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine - AMDA - and National POLST said AMDA has become the first national organization to formally support the adoption of a national POLST (Physican Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) form.

POLST is an approach to advance care planning 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.

AMDA said the POLST process emphasizes eliciting, documenting, and honoring patient preferences about the treatments they want to receive during a medical emergency or as they decline in health. These treatment wishes are documented on a portable medical order called a POLST form.

AMDA said the standard form was created because a single form will make it easier, among other things:

--For providers to recognize a POLST form and how to correctly interpret and follow POLST form orders, thereby enabling them to honor patient treatment preferences;

--To conduct research and quality assurance activities, creating shared data for generalizable knowledge and ability to improve POLST; and

--To more broadly educate patients and providers about POLST so the process and form are understood and appropriately implemented consistently everywhere.

And, while not only for emergencies, the POLST form is valuable in communicating to emergency service providers whether the patient wants cardiopulmonary resuscitation and whether they want to be transported to the hospital or remain in place and be made comfortable.

Therefore, the POLST form itself must be immediately recognizable to all emergency service providers and health care professionals, and be able to be honored by all, in order to reach its full value to patients, AMDA said.

“POLST exists to provide seriously ill or frail patients a tool to communicate their treatment preferences as they transition across care settings or travel throughout the United States,” says Amy Vandenbroucke, executive director of National POLST.

Christopher Laxton, executive director of AMDA, said the group looks forward to educating practitioners, as well as patients and their families, on using the form, as well as working with other organizations to support legislation and regulatory action that will allow POLST orders to be followed across state lines.

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