POLST and Advance Directives

Does a POLST form replace the Advance Directive?

The POLST form complements the Advance Directive and is not intended to replace it. An Advance Directive is necessary to appoint a legal health care representative and provide instructions for future life-sustaining treatments. The Advance Directive is recommended for all adults, regardless of their health status.

A POLST form should accompany an Advance Directive when appropriate.  For more information go to: www.caringinfo.org.

What are the primary differences between an Advance Directive and a POLST form?


  • For anyone 18 and older
  • Provides instructions for future treatment
  • Appoints a Health Care Representative
  • Does not guide Emergency Medical Personnel
  • Guides inpatient treatment decisions when made available


  • For persons with serious illness — at any age
  • Provides medical orders for current treatment
  • Guides actions by Emergency Medical Personnel when made available
  • Guides inpatient treatment decisions when made available