How Well Do ED Patients Understand Life-Sustaining Treatment Orders?

January 13, 2017 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​Individuals and their proxies "may believe that … documenting some, but not all, of their wishes on the MOLST medical orders for life-sustaining treatment form is sufficient for directing their end-of-life care," write researchers in a January 2017 Journal of the American Medical Directors Association article. However, "the result of making some, but not all, choices, may result in patients receiving undesired, extraordinary, or invasive care." The authors begin by pointing out the discrepancies in the names of the form, which range from MOLST to POLST (Physicians' Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment), to state variations, such as Iowa's IPOST (Iowa Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment). The authors also note confusion among these forms, living wills, and do-not-resuscitate orders.

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