Resources for Advance Directives and for Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment

Here are two sites that can help a person who wants to insure that his or her values and desires are respected at the end of life.

Health Care Advance Directives are available at www.caringinfo.orgThis site has state specific Advance Directives. Here is the PDF of the one for Indiana:

INDIANA Advance Directive: Planning for Important Health Care Decisions

An explanation of Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment are available at

The Indiana POST Program: Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment website has information about the program relevant to Indiana citizens. The site also has the official Indiana Physicians Orders for Scope of Treatment [PDF] available for download.

The POLST website explains the purpose of the Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment and explains for whom they are appropriate:

About the National POLST Paradigm

The National POLST Paradigm is an approach to end-of-life planning that emphasizes patients’ wishes about the care they receive. The POLST Paradigm – which stands for Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment – is an approach to end-of-life planning emphasizing: (i) advance care planning conversations between patients, health care professionals and loved ones; (ii) shared decision-making between a patient and his/her health care professional about the care the patient would like to receive at the end of his/her life; and (iii) ensuring patient wishes are honored. As a result of these conversations, patient wishes may be documented in a POLST form, which translates the shared decisions into actionable medical orders. The POLST form assures patients that health care professionals will provide only the treatments that patients themselves wish to receive, and decreases the frequency of medical errors.
POLST is not for everyone. Only patients with serious illness or frailty, for whom a health care professional would not be surprised if they died within one year, should have a POLST form. For these patients, their current health status indicates the need for standing medical orders. For healthy patients, an Advance Directive is an appropriate tool for making future end-of-life care wishes known to loved ones. [See below] for more information about the difference between POLST and Advance Directives.

[The Difference Between] POLST and Advance Directives

Does a POLST form replace the Advance Directive?

The POLST form complements the Advance Directive and is not intended to replace it. An Advance Directive is necessary to appoint a legal health care representative and provide instructions for future life-sustaining treatments. The Advance Directive is recommended for all adults, regardless of their health status.
A POLST form should accompany an Advance Directive when appropriate. For more information go to:
What are the primary differences between an Advance Directive and a POLST form?

For anyone 18 and older
Provides instructions for future treatment
Appoints a Health Care Representative
Does not guide Emergency Medical Personnel
Guides inpatient treatment decisions when made available
For persons with serious illness — at any age
Provides medical orders for current treatment
Guides actions by Emergency Medical Personnel when made available
Guides inpatient treatment decisions when made available




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