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What is POLST?

POLST (Portable Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) is a medical order for people with serious illness or frailty. If you are someone with serious illness you can complete a POLST form with your doctor* to direct the kinds of treatment you want in a medical crisis. POLST orders give you more control over the treatments you do or do not want to receive in an emergency situation. The form works to guide treatment decisions if you later lose the ability to speak for yourself.

Understanding POLST:

Healthy people may find the narrator’s speech slow. Please note that according to health literacy specialists, the speed of speech is appropriate. This is especially true for new and challenging health information. It is our intention to reach people who might never have experienced this terminology.


* “Doctor" refers to who can sign a POLST form. POLST forms need a physician (M.D. or D.O.), nurse practitioner (N.P.), physician assistant (P.A.), or doctor of naturopathy (N.D.) signature.