INSIDE YOUR PRACTICE: “POLST Forms The New Living Wills?”

By Clark Howard,

There’s a new medical form you need to know about if you want to be sure that your end-of-life wishes will be honored.

I was reading in The Wall Street Journal about the POLST form (physician orders for life-sustaining treatment). A study published in The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society reports people who have a POLST form on record get the care they want in their final days — more so than those people who just have a standard advanced directive.

You can get a POLST in 43 states by sitting down with your doctor or other medical professional and laying out what it is you want and how much medical intervention you want in your last days.

Do both a PLOST and an advance directive

A POLST should not be done in lieu of a living will, but in conjunction with it. Think of it as the one-two punch you need to make sure your wishes are honored.

Many times people suffer who would rather die at home or in hospice. I saw this with my own dad. My father had always said he wanted to be allowed to die in peace at home. But when he passed away in 1980s, my dad ended up with more tubes in him than a science experiment and died in a hospital.

End-of-life wishes are a very personal choice. But it’s worth taking the time to look into this. Do the advance directive and, if you’re in a serious situation with your health, do your POLST with your doctor too so you have that added layer of protection.

Click here for info on getting advance directive forms online for free.


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