Doctor’s office forms, hospital test forms, insurance forms. When you have malignant mesothelioma, you get handed lots of clipboards and wind up filling out lots of forms. But there is one form you need to make your sure you fill out. That’s the Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment known as the POLST.
As a patient with malignant mesothelioma, there are many things in your life that are not in your control. But the POLST helps give you control over one very important thing – your medical care. The POLST also helps you talk with your healthcare team and your loved ones about your choices. It can help prevent you from receiving unwanted or ineffective medical treatment. In this way, the POLST can help spare your family the anguish of not knowing what type of medical procedures to say yes or no to. It makes sure that your wishes are known and honored.
The decisions documented on the POLST form include whether to:
- Attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation,
- Administer antibiotics and IV fluids,
- Use a ventilator to help with breathing, and
- Provide artificial nutrition by tube
Where can I get a POLST form?
You can request the form from your doctor. The form can also be found at www.caPOLST.org
Is the POLST required by law?
Filling out a POLST form is entirely voluntary, but as of 2009, California law requires that the physician orders in a POLST be followed by health care providers.
Does the POLST form replace the Advance Care Directive?
The POLST form complements an Advance Directive and is not intended to replace that document. You still need an Advance Directive to appoint a legal health care decision-maker.
What happens to my POLST form after it is completed and signed?
The original POLST form should stay with you at all times.
- In a hospital, your POLST will be in your medical record or file.
- At home, place your POLST in a visible location so it can be found easily by emergency medical personnel – usually on a bedside table or on the refrigerator