Persons who are facing an advanced illness are advised to think about having their physician sign specific medical orders which respect patient choices in end-of-life issues.
These orders are referred to in Texas as MOST (Medical Orders Scope of Treatment). In other states, they may be called POLST (Physician Orders for Life-sustaining Treatment).
Here are some facts to consider:
- These orders are recommended for persons who have advanced or terminal illness or are frail and may die within one year.
- The patient or his/her representative speaks frankly with the doctor to choose treatments that the patient wants or does not want.
- The preferences are put into writing and are signed by the doctor.
- The form accompanies the patient. It will be recognized by EMT personnel and other emergency responders, ER staff, and other medical or nursing facilities.
- It is a good idea to keep the form on the front of the patient’s refrigerator or another spot where it would be seen by emergency responders.
- The MOST is not for everyone. If the person does not have an advanced illness, an “Advanced Directive” may be the best option.
- An Advanced Directive can be used to designate someone to speak for the patient and discuss medical preferences in more general terms.
- Click here for more information about the POLST. This is a national website.
- Click here for more information about MOST. This is a Texas-specific website.
- If you need assistance, a consultation with an estate planning or elder care attorney can help you and your loved ones determine the best legal documents for your situation.