Physician Orders For Life-Sustaining Treatment Act or POLST

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Health Care Directive and Living Will Attorney

In 2012, the Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment Act, or POLST, was enacted. POLST is designed to complement the New Jersey Advanced Health Care Act by making a person’s medical wishes regarding life-sustaining treatment.

POLST is a standardized form, called the POLST form. It sets forth medical orders that address a range of life-sustaining interventions and patient preferences as to the intensity of treatment. This form is especially beneficial to persons with a significant medical condition(s) or a terminal illness. To be legally effective the POLST form MUST BE SIGNED by a patient’s attending physician or by an advanced practice nurse.

A POLST form is legal if it contains the following: (1) the patient’s health care preferences, (2) the voluntary signature of the patient who has decision-making capacity or the signature of the patient’s representative, such as a power of attorney. (3) The signature of the patients attending physician.

When duly executed a POLST must be followed by emergency care providers, like a paramedic or EMS first responders. It’s this mandatory recognition of end of life decisions by emergency health care representatives that makes a POLST a valuable alternative to just a Living Will or Health Care Directive. It is a mandatory document.

To discuss your NJ Health Care Directive and Living Will matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com.  Please ask us about our video conferencing consultations if you are unable to come to our office.