POLST Empowers Patients in End-of-Life Care

Gov. Christie recently signed into law a new program called “POLST,” which stands for Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment. This is a new vehicle for patients and their doctors to – voluntarily – spell out for future caregivers and family members the patient’s goals, particularly at the end-of-life. Working closely with a physician or advanced practice nurse, an individual can put into writing the types of care that he or she wants – or does not want – during the end stages of a life-limiting illness or chronic disease. Because the document is signed by a physician or advance practice nurse, the experience of other states has been that POLST is followed by other practitioners of care. And because family members see that mom, or dad, or Aunt Betty signed the form themselves, they are more comfortable with the decision. POLST will empower patients. Its use is voluntary, but we at NJHA think it’s a powerful tool for us to improve the care we provide at the end of life. We urge you to watch for POLST to be rolled out in New Jersey in the coming months and to use it as a catalyst to talk to your clinician and take control of your healthcare wishes. You can learn more at www.POLST.org.
Written by Betsy Ryan at 14:50

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