How is POLST different from an Advance Directive?

POLST complements but does not replace an Advance Health Care

Directive. An Advance Directive allows individuals to appoint the person they want to speak on their behalf. It provides a broad outline of a person's wishes relating to end-of-life care and should be filled out by any adult, regardless

of one's health status. An Advance Directive does not carry the weight of a physician order, however, and is often unavailable when needed.

In contrast, POLST is designed for the seriously ill, and identifies a patient's specific wishes on key medical decisions. In addition, POLST has the force of a physician order, and is designed to travel with a patient from one setting to another.

EMS providers need to make urgent, split-second decisions. POLST helps us do that by clearly identifying patients wishes and their physicians orders.