The legal and ethical landscape for end-of-life issues is ever evolving. The POLST concept or Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment has been at the forefront of this discussion in Florida among those in the medical and legal fields.
The POLST aims to pick up where a living will or advance directive leaves off in that Advance Directives are not necessarily binding on health care professionals while a POLST is a medical order entered by the patient's doctor and therefore should be recognized both in an emergency setting and in hospital. Additionally, advance directives may have been created years ago and sometimes don't accurately reflect a patients current medical condition or wishes.
The POLST order seeks to bridge this gap as a current medical order reflecting a patient's current condition and wishes, as discussed with their physician. POLST is designed only for patients already in a condition that could characterized as end-of-life and is therefore not for everyone.
Kudos to Parbara Peters Smith with the Sarasota Herald Tribune for her article on this very important topic. Mentioned in the article is Professor Marshall Kapp, director of the Florida State University Medical School's Center for Innovative Collaboration in Medicine and Law.
Our thanks also goes out to him for his work as the catalyst for this discussion in our state.
Click below to read the full article:
For more reading on this issue, please also visit www.polst.org