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Resources for the Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment based
Proactive and Personalised Primary Care of the Elderly

Advance Care Planning :


Portable Medical Orders

previously known as Physicians Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment

  • POLST = Portable Medical Orders.

The POLST is in wide use in the U.S.A. and comes in several state-specific versions.

Nationally, POLST is not an acronym (but it used to be).

Different states use different names such as POST, MOLST, MOST, etc. for their programs:

  • POLST is for people who are seriously ill or have advanced frailty.

An advance directive is better suited for healthy people.

POLST forms and advance directives are both advance care plans but they are not the same.

  • POLST forms must be filled out and signed by health care provider.

When a person needs a prescription, that person goes to their healthcare provider who writes or types an order for the prescription and signs it.

POLST is a medical order so it is the same: the person needs to go to their health care provider who will write out the POLST and sign it.

The difference with POLST is that the person should have a good talk with their healthcare provider about what they want considering their current medical condition: What is likely to happen in the future? Treatment options? They will also be asked to sign your POLST form.

  • POLST forms tell other providers what the person wants.

During a medical emergency, if the person can talk, providers will ask them what they want. POLST forms are used only when they cannot communicate and they need medical care. When that is the situation, the POLST form orders providers to give the person the treatments they chose.

  • POLST forms are out-of-hospital medical orders.

This means that they are medical orders that travel with the person. Wherever that person is located, their POLST form tells health care providers what treatments they want and their goals of care, even if they transfer from hospital to nursing home, back to their home, or to hospice or another setting.

  • POLST is voluntary.

The individual makes the choice about having a POLST form: and should never be forced to have one!

If the indicvidual is healthy, however, the healthcare provider may choose not sign a POLST form, since it was designed for people who are seriously ill or have advanced frailty (some state laws do not allow providers to sign a POLST form unless the individual is seriously ill or has advanced frailty).


Portable Medical Orders

previously known as Physicians Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment

Template for out of hospital doctor’s order that indicates patient preferences for resuscitation and scope of treatment, intended to be completed for seriously ill or frail patients and to be followed by emergency medical providers.  

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Advance Care Planning, CGA based Proactive Primary Care of the Elderly

This topic is part of the Advance Care Planning domain of the

Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment

Back To : Advance Care Planning

doctor and patient

Advance Care Planning is one of 8 domains of the

Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA)

Back To : Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment

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