Monday, December 29, 2014

The Legal Document that Terminally Ill or Frail Patients Should Have



Persons who are facing an advanced illness are advised to think about having their physician sign specific medical orders which respect patient choices in end-of-life issues.

These orders are referred to in Texas as MOST (Medical Orders Scope of Treatment).  In other states, they may be called POLST (Physician Orders for Life-sustaining Treatment).

Here are some facts to consider:


  1. These orders are recommended for persons who have advanced or terminal illness or are frail and may die within one year. 
  2. The patient or his/her representative speaks frankly with the doctor to choose treatments that the patient wants or does not want.
  3. The preferences are put into writing and are signed by the doctor. 
  4. The form accompanies the patient. It will be recognized by EMT personnel and other emergency responders, ER staff, and other medical or nursing facilities. 
  5. It is a good idea to keep the form on the front of the patient's refrigerator or another spot where it would be seen by emergency responders. 
  6. The MOST is not for everyone.  If the person does not have an advanced illness, an "Advanced Directive" may be the best option.  
  7. An Advanced Directive can be used to designate someone to speak for the patient and discuss medical preferences in more general terms. 
  8. Click here for more information about the POLST. This is a national website. 
  9. Click here for more information about MOST. This is a Texas-specific website. 
  10. If you need assistance, a consultation with an estate planning or elder care attorney can help you and your loved ones determine the best legal documents for your situation. 


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1 comment:

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