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Closure.org Blog

Search for legal aspects advanced directives has returned 2 results

Pennsylvania Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)

By Marian Kemp

Talking about care at the end of life is not easy. Yet communicating wishes for care in the final months is important. It helps to ensure wishes are honored and eases the burden on loved ones.

Seriously ill patients and/or their families may hear of a document that can help ensure that an individual's health care treatment wishes at the end of life are respected. This document, called the Pennsylvania Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment or POLST, was approved for use in Pennsylvania late in 2010 by the Secretary of the Department of Health (DOH).

The POLST form is recommended for persons who have advanced chronic progressive illness and/or frailty, those who might die in the next year, or anyone of advanced age with a strong desire to further define their preferences of care in their present state of health. To determine whether a POLST form should be encouraged, healthcare professionals ask themselves, "Would I be surprised if this person died in the next year?" If the answer is "No, I would not be surprised", then a POLST form is appropriate.

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Mister T.

A long strand of pink glittery hair was flowing in the breeze.  An equally fashionable purple strand highlighted the opposite side of a thinly contoured face.  This wasn’t a spunky 13 year-old girl. This was my patient, Mr. T, being swiftly wheeled into the gym by his young daughter who had yet to perfect her driving skills. “Look!” she exclaimed. “I bought my dad some presents,” she said as she gestured to the clip-on hair pieces that donned Mr. T’s head.  “Don’t I look beautiful?” he asked while playfully tossing his head from side-to-side.

As a graduate student finishing up the last months of my occupational therapy (OT) degree on an inpatient rehabilitation unit, Mr. T was one of my first patients whom I was completely responsible for all aspects of his therapy.  He was in his mid-50’s and just had a large hematoma drained from the right side of his skull.  I had no idea what to expect when I first walked into Mr. T’s room, but I quickly came to know him as a caring and humorous individual who was full of life. He was constantly surrounded by his family (with six children it’s difficult to find some alone time!) and by members of his church.  Through the advances and set-backs in Mr. T’s functional ability due to his ongoing chemotherapy, we had our tough moments. But after spending an hour and a half together every day, we had developed a solid relationship.

 

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Written by robots= on June 27th, 2012 at
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