POLST (Physicians Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment)

Attend a POLST Awareness, Education, and Implementation session. One session will be offered each month. Register Today!

The National Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) Paradigm

The POLST paradigm’s goal is to effectively communicate the wishes of patients facing serious illness or end of life: to have OR to limit medical treatment as they move from one care setting to another.

North Dakota POLST (Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) program

The North Dakota Medical Association and Quality Health Associates of North Dakota have been instrumental in developing a POLST program presence through Honoring Choices® North Dakota. The standardized North Dakota Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form that can be used for patients diagnosed with serious illnesses throughout North Dakota. It is a voluntary form.

The target audience for this form are patients diagnosed with serious illnesses or facing end of life, such as those enrolled in hospice programs, living in nursing homes and using home care agencies. If the answer to the surprise question, would I be surprised if this patient died in the next 12 -18 months? is NO, the form should be considered.

Honoring Choices® North Dakota recommends that physicians and healthcare professionals read both the instructions on the back of the form and review the FAQ about the form before using it with patients.

More information about the ND POLST program or form contact Nancy Joyner, Honoring Choices® North Dakota’s POLST program coordinator, at nancy.joyner@honoringchoicesnd.org or (701) 746-4728.

The North Dakota POLST Form

Please print the 2018 North Dakota POLST form in color to distinguish it as the original form, since copies are valid and the original stays with the patient.

POLST Educational Video

Follow the link to access the course: //med.und.edu/continuing-medical-education/
On the left hand side of the page, click ‘On-line Courses’ this will take you to a sign in page where you create a new user ID or simply log in if you already have an account. Once you are logged in you will be directed to CME Attendee Portal which lists the Internet Live Courses. Scroll down to POLST in North Dakota and begin – Start Course.

Thank you to John Berg, MD, Kristina Schlecht, MD and Nancy Joyner, MS, APRN-CNS for lending their expertise in this video. The POLST educational video and CME is supported with federal grant funds from the DHHS, HRSA, Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program administered through the Center of Rural Health, UND, School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Note: Education has not been disseminated statewide to any first responders or EMS personnel.

The Pearls of Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST): Translating Patient Decisions into Treatment Orders

This article seeks to honor individual preferences through advance care planning (ACP) by providing an understanding of POLST, which documents individual treatment wishes as medical orders. In the article the authors discuss advance care planning, advance directives, changes in patient status, and the inception and description of POLST. They distinguish POLST from DNR orders, compare POLST to advance directives, and describe the roles of registered and advanced practice nurses. Additionally, they consider studies that have endorsed the POLST paradigm, and share POLST paradigm pearls as well as possible paradigm pitfalls.

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