2016:  Ongoing Education, Policy Development, and Research

The Oregon POLST Program as with all worthwhile endeavors, can improve only if it embraces thoughtful input. Some critical of the program, believe withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatments is the primary goal. This is not at all the intent. Instead, the program seeks to ensure that a patient’s preferences are honored, whether a patient wants all treatments or desires to limit specific treatments. The POLST program asks “How can we together best ensure that a patient’s treatment preferences are respected?” “If there are concerns about the POLST program, what suggestions might make things better?” The path to achieving these goals is by inviting all interested parties to contribute their ideas whether they agree or not with the current status of the POLST program. 

As an example, the Oregon POLST Task Force learned about some circumstances in which POLST use could be improved. So, the task force produced a 2015 cautionary video, “The POLST:  Doing It Better,” to promote high quality use of the POLST program. Welcoming feedback, improving education and policy, and conducting research and quality assurance; all embody the POLST program endeavor. It is with this enduring spirit that task force members hope to continue to improve the care of those served.