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The POLST Paradigm: Respecting Patient Preferences Terri Schmidt MD, MS Center for Ethics in Health Care Department of Emergency Medicine Oregon Health.

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Presentation on theme: "The POLST Paradigm: Respecting Patient Preferences Terri Schmidt MD, MS Center for Ethics in Health Care Department of Emergency Medicine Oregon Health."— Presentation transcript:

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3 The POLST Paradigm: Respecting Patient Preferences Terri Schmidt MD, MS Center for Ethics in Health Care Department of Emergency Medicine Oregon Health & Sciences University Clackamas County EMS

4 Purpose of POLST To provide a mechanism to communicate patient preferences for end-of-life treatment across treatment settings

5 “If I have cancer or something, [resuscitation] is a waste of time, because you know you’re going to die. I would like to be in a hospice situation where there is someone to hold your hand or make sure you are comfortable.”

6 Definitions Advance directives – Directive to physicians/living will – Power of attorney for health care Do not attempt resuscitation-DNAR POLST and POLST paradigm

7 ADVANCE DIRECTIVEPOLST For whomFor all adults For persons of any age with advanced illness Purpose To express values and appoint a surrogate ( future wishes ) Medical orders which turn a patient’s values into action ( applies today ) Guide actions by Emergency Medical Personnel Usually notYes Guide treatment decisions in the hospital Yes

8 What Is POLST A health care provider’s order Can be completed by others (SW, RN) but must be signed by MD, DO, NP or PA – May be a verbal order from one of the above, signed by an RN Consistent recognized document

9 Development of POLST Consensus development Began in 1991 Ongoing revision process Voluntary process in Oregon, legislated in some other states Now used in more than 30 states National POLST Advisory panel

10 Elements of the POLST Paradigm Medical order form Accompanies patient Bright, unique color (Pink in OR, Green in WA) Training of professionals DNAR orders Limit or provide other interventions Decisions about transport, ICU, nutrition, antibiotics

11 National POLST Development

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13 “If I am unconscious at the last moment then I don’t want any machines or anything.”

14 Oregon Regulations that facilitated POLST Advance Directive Statute (ORS ) EMT Scope of Practice [OAR (6)]. – The Oregon Medical Board has defined the Scope of Practice so that an Oregon-certified First Responder or EMT shall comply with life-sustaining treatment orders executed by a physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner Directive by OMB that physicians honor it in emergency departments

15 Requirements to Make the Form Valid Patient name Resuscitation orders Provider signature and date all other information is optional…in Oregon it does not require signature of patient (verbal orders signed by an RN are acceptable)

16 Validation of POLST Dunn PM, Schmidt TA et al: A method to communicate patient preferences about medically indicated life sustaining treatment JAGS 1996;44:785 Tolle SW, Tilden VP, Nelson CA, Dunn PM: A Prospective study of the efficacy of the POLST JAGS 1998;46:1097 Lee MA, Brummel-Smith K et al: Physician orders for life-sustaining treatment (POLST): Outcomes in a PACE program JAGS 2000; 48:1-6.

17 Schmidt TA, Hickman SE, Tolle SW, Brooks HS:The Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment Program: Oregon Emergency Medical Technicians’ Practical Experience and Attitudes JAGS 2004;52: Hickman SE, Tolle SW, Brummel-Smith K, Carley MM: Use of POLST (The Physician Orders for Life- Sustaining Treatment Program) in Oregon Nursing Facilities JAGS 2004;52: Hickman SE, Nelson CA, Perrin NA, Moss AH, Hammes BJ, Tolle S: A comparison of methods tp communicate treatment preferences in nursing facilities: Traditional practices versus the physician orders for life-sustaining treatment program JAGS 2010 Jul;58(7):

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24 Schmidt TA, Hickman SE, Tolle SW, Brooks HS: The Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment Program: Oregon Emergency Medical Technicians’ Practical Experience and Attitudes JAGS 2004;52:

25 Methods Anonymous survey mailed in 2002 to a stratified random sample of Oregon paramedics and EMT-Intermediates

26 Findings 572/1048 (55%) response rate 76% male 66% paramedics

27 73% had treated a patient with a POLST POLST, when present, changed treatment in 45% of patients

28 75% thought POLST provided clear instructions about patient preferences 93% thought POLST useful in determining treatment when patient in cardiopulmonary arrest 63% thought it useful in other circumstances

29 25% reported some difficulty finding the form 87% were filled out appropriately – 6% had conflicting orders – 5% unsigned – 2% incomplete

30 It was not followed in 37 (10%) cases – 17 changed by family or other care giver on scene – 9 changed by patient – 8 changed by physician/EMT/hospital

31 Case Study: When POLST Works

32 Where to keep the POLST The front of the chart In a red envelop on the fridge (but people do not like it)

33 The Oregon POLST Registry For Emergency Medical Services, emergency departments and hospital acute care units

34 What is it? Secure electronic Registry of POLST orders. Located at the Emergency Communication Center at OHSU and protected by the OHSU firewall Allows health care professionals access to POLST orders if the original POLST form cannot be immediately located.

35 How do I access the POLST Registry? Call the 24 hour POLST Registry EMS line – Say, “This is ______________ agency/emergency department, with an immediate POLST form request” Full name Date of Birth Gender Last 4 SSN POLST Registry ID # Home address/residential care facility address City, County, or zip code Provide as much as possible of the following patient information, to the Registry staff:

36 What information will be provided? Section A and B orders, the date the form was signed, and the POLST Registry ID number. THE STAFF ARE NOT MEDICAL PROVIDERS, AND CAN OFFER NO INTERPRETATION OF POLST ORDERS Hospitals can be faxed the POLST form. EMS: if you are transporting confirm your destination hospital and a copy can be sent ahead.

37 This is what the fax will look like

38 The Oregon POLST Registry Emergency Communication Center at OHSU (MRH) ( POLSTS ) Website:

39 POLST Information Center for Ethics in Health Care Fax:


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