Providing appropriate care to patients throughout their lifetime is an important experience that should occur in our health care system.  While the majority of Americans believe that death comes suddenly at the end of a productive and full life, this is not usually the case.  Death comes suddenly and without warning to less than 20 percent of people. The other 80 percent of the time, progressive illness, debility and death comes after a period of time that may range from weeks to years. Regardless, it will happen.

Studies have shown that patients and families who discuss what is occurring and how to best to plan for the future actually get better patient-centered medical care in the place that they want it, whether it’s at home or in a hospital, nursing home or other location. Education about the types of care available, who provides it, and who pays for it are important to the family/caregiver unit as they plan for the future.

An OkPOLST form provides for an easily identifiable document that translates a patient’s end-of-life wishes and goals of care into a physician’s order that transfers with the patient wherever they go in the health care system. This allows communication among all health care professionals in real time with the patient at the center.

The OkPOLST document is:

  • A model program for end-of-life care 
  • A best practice model using evidence-based medicine
  • Transferable along health care settings 
  • Complementary with advance directives/living wills
  • Voluntary 
  • Not biased for or against any specific treatment  

For a video presentation describing the OkPOLST initiative and the updated form, please click here.

Many states have POLST forms and programs.  For more information, please visit www.polst.org.

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