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In some states, advance health care planning includes a document called physician orders for life-sustaining treatment (POLST).
The document may also be called provider orders for life-sustaining treatment (POLST) or medical orders for life-sustaining treatment (MOLST).
A medical or health care power of attorney is a type of advance directive in which you name a person to make decisions for you when you are unable to do so.
In some states this directive may also be called a durable power of attorney for health care or a health care proxy.
Links to state-specific forms can be found on the websites of various organizations such as the American Bar Association, AARP and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
Review your advance directives with your doctor and your health care agent to be sure you have filled out forms correctly.
A POLST is intended for people who have already been diagnosed with a serious illness. Instead, it serves as doctor-ordered instructions — not unlike a prescription — to ensure that, in case of an emergency, you receive the treatment you prefer.
Your doctor will fill out the form based on the contents of your advance directives, the discussions you have with your doctor about the likely course of your illness and your treatment preferences. If you are in a hospital or nursing home, the document is posted near your bed.
Consider how important it is to you to be independent and self-sufficient, and identify what circumstances might make you feel like your life is not worth living.
Would you want treatment to extend your life in any situation? Would you want treatment only if a cure is possible?