Making the decision about whether to have a POLST or an Advance Directive can be difficult. Both options offer advantages and disadvantages, and it can be tough to decide which is the best choice for you.
In this guide, we will compare and contrast both options, looking at the benefits and drawbacks of each. We will help you make an informed decision about which option is right for you!
POLST Vs Advance Directive Table of Contents
What is a POLST?
A POLST is a Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment. It is a document that gives guidance to health care professionals about the kind of medical treatment you would want to receive if you were seriously ill and unable to speak for yourself.
What is an Advance Directive?
An advance directive is a legal document that allows you to express your wishes regarding medical treatment in the event that you are unable to communicate them yourself. This could be due to an accident or illness that leaves you incapacitated. An advance directive can also appoint someone else to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so.
What is The Difference Between a POLST and an Advance Directive?
The two documents are quite different in their purpose, content, and implementation. An advance directive is generally created early on in an individual’s life, when they are healthy and able to make decisions about their future care. A POLST, on the other hand, is designed to be used near the end of life, when an individual may not be able to make their own decisions.
The content of the two documents is also different. An advance directive generally includes information about an individual’s preferences for medical treatment, including end-of-life care. A POLST, on the other hand, includes specific medical orders that must be followed by medical professionals.
Finally, the implementation of the two documents is different. An advance directive generally requires that medical professionals follow the individual’s wishes, even if they are not in the best interests of the individual’s health. A POLST, on the other hand, is a binding legal document that must be followed by medical professionals.
What Are The Different Types of POLST?
There are four different types of POLST:
This type of POLST is for healthy individuals who have no chronic medical conditions. It allows you to receive any kind of medical treatment you need.
This type of POLST is for individuals with chronic medical conditions. It allows you to receive any kind of medical treatment you need, except for those that would prolong your life without improving your quality of life.
This type of POLST is for individuals who are nearing the end of their lives. It allows you to receive any kind of medical treatment you need, except for those that would prolong your life without improving your quality of life.
Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)
This type of POLST is for individuals who do not want to receive CPR if their heart stops beating or they stop breathing.
What Are The Different Types of Advance Directive?
There are two main types of Advance Directive:
A living will is a written document that spells out the kind of medical treatment you would or would not want to receive if you were unable to communicate your wishes. It can cover everything from life-sustaining measures, such as artificial nutrition and hydration, to more routine end-of-life care, such as pain relief.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
A durable power of attorney for health care (also called a “health care proxy”) is a legal document that names someone else to make decisions about your medical care if you are unable to make them yourself. The person you name is usually called your “health care agent” or “proxy.”
What Are The Advantages of a POLST?
Some of the advantages of a POLST include:
- You can specify exactly what medical treatments you do and do not want
- Your POLST can be easily changed if your wishes change
- A POLST is a legal document that must be followed by medical professionals
What Are The Advantages of an Advance Directive?
Some of the advantages of an Advance Directive include:
- You are able to make your wishes known in advance
- It can help to relieve some of the stress and burden on your loved ones
- It can help to ensure that your wishes are followed
What Are The Disadvantages of POLST?
There are a few disadvantages of POLST to consider before filling one out. First, some people feel that having a POLST means they are giving up control of their end-of-life care.
Second, because the document is not as well known as an advance directive, there is a chance that your wishes may not be followed if your health care providers are not familiar with POLST.
Finally, because POLST is a medical order, it cannot be changed without the approval of a physician, which can be difficult to obtain if you are incapacitated.
What Are The Disadvantages of Advance Directive?
Advance Directive has a few disadvantages. First, it can be hard to make sure that your directive is followed if you become incapacitated and are unable to communicate your wishes.
Second, Advance Directive only covers medical decisions, while POLST also covers end-of-life care options such as hospice and comfort care.
Finally, Advance Directive is only binding in some states, while POLST is recognized in all 50 states.
So, Which One Should You Use?
This is really a personal decision that depends on your specific situation. If you have a serious medical condition and want to make sure your wishes are followed, then a POLST form may be the best option. If you are generally healthy but still want to have some control over your medical care, then an advance directive might be a better choice.
Of course, you can always choose to do both. Having a POLST form and an advance directive can give you the most control over your medical care, no matter what situation you find yourself in.
What Are Some Alternatives to Using a POLST or an Advance Directive?
If you’re not comfortable with either a POLST or an Advance Directive, there are some other options available to you.
You could create a living will, for example, which would outline your wishes for medical care in the event that you become unable to communicate them yourself.
Another option is to appoint a healthcare proxy, who would be responsible for making decisions on your behalf in the event that you are unable to do so yourself.
Both of these options have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to weigh up all of your options before making a decision. Ultimately, the best option for you will depend on your individual circumstances.
What Are Some Tips For Using a POLST?
If you are considering using a POLST, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Talk to your doctor about your medical history and what kind of treatment you would want in different situations. This will help them fill out the form correctly.
- Make sure you understand what the form means and what your choices are. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or another medical professional.
- Fill out the form with as much detail as possible. The more specific you are, the better.
- Keep a copy of the form in a safe place, and make sure your family members or other close contacts know where it is.
- Review the form periodically and update it as needed.
What Are Some Tips For Using an Advance Directive?
There are several things you can do to make sure your advance directive is followed. You should:
- Talk to your family and close friends about your wishes. They should know where to find your advance directive and be familiar with your wishes.
- Make sure your doctor has a copy of your directive. Your doctor should keep it on file and make sure all of your other doctors have a copy as well.
- Carry a card or bracelet that says you have an advance directive. This will help remind medical staff to look for it if you are unable to communicate.
- Review your directive every few years to make sure it still reflects your wishes. You may need to make changes as your health changes.