How Does POLST Work?

The POLST form is a medical order indicating a patient’s wishes regarding treatments that are commonly used in a medical crisis. As a medical order, emergency personnel – such as paramedics, EMTs, and emergency physicians – must follow these orders. Without a POLST form, paramedics and EMTs are required to provide every possible medical treatment to sustain life.

POLST is also helpful in guiding treatment after the initial emergency. The brightly colored form gives you a way to tell doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals what types of treatment you do and do not want. It is important that POLST orders show what treatments you want now, in your current state of health.

To learn how POLST works in your state, find your state’s POLST program.