female_doctor_elderlyThe Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) Paradigm Program is designed to improve the quality of care people receive at the end-of-life by turning patient goals and preferences into medical orders. The program:

  • Helps healthcare professionals discuss and develop treatments plans that reflect patient wishes
  • Assists physicians, nurses, healthcare facilities and emergency personnel in honoring patients’ wishes regarding life-sustaining treatments in emergency situations.

The physician orders are based on a patient’s medical condition and his/her treatment choices. Those choices are established in a conversation between the patient, or the legal medical decision-maker, and a healthcare professional. Use of the form is voluntary.

The POLST form is NOT an advance directive. It’s merely a form that represents and summarizes a patient’s wishes in the form of medical orders.

The procedures for the POLST Program vary by state. Click here to learn more about the current state of the POLST in your community.

Pennsylvania recently enacted the POLST Program. In its version, POLST stands for “Pennsylvania—Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment.” There are specific instructions you must follow when using the form. To help, we have included the following downloadable forms: 

Click Here for more information and resources about Pennsylvania's version of POLST. You can also contact Marian Kemp, PA POLST Coordinator at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  to learn more.


Watch the Closure/CQEL Statewide Webinar on POLST
Download PowerPoint Presentation
Judith Black, MD, Medical Director Senior Markets, Highmark, Inc., and National POLST Paradigm Task Force Member
Marian Kemp, CQEL POLST Coordinator
Alex Nesbitt, MD, Medical Director, Susquehanna Hospice and Palliative Care
Robert B. Wolf, Esq., Tener, Van Kirk, Wolf & Moore, P.C.
October 4, 2012