Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment
Pen Bay Healthcare has approved adoption of Maine’s "Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment" (POLST) for use in all departments.
POLST is more than just a form. It is a system of care. Please click on the following links for more information.
If you have any questions about the POLST form or the POLST process, please call Dr. Ira Mandel at 594-9561. Thank you.
The key points about POLST at Pen Bay Healthcare include:
Who Should Have a POLST form completed?
The POLST form is important for people who have concerns about their health. It is used to make a person’s wishes for medical care known to doctors, nurses, emergency medical personnel and other healthcare staff.
Why should I complete a POLST form?
Completing the form can help to make certain that your wishes for care in the future are known and respected.
- The POLST form makes clear what medical care you would want, or would not want, if you become unable to make decisions yourself.
- It provides a doctor’s order so that healthcare workers can follow your plan.
- A POLST form increases the chances of living out your days as you and your family wish.
What does the POLST form do?
The POLST form is voluntary and is intended to:
- Help you and your doctor discuss and develop plans to reflect your wishes.
- Assist doctors, nurses, healthcare facilities and emergency personnel in honoring your wishes.
- Make sure that your wishes are followed as you are moved from one location to another (such as from the hospital to home or to a nursing home, or from your home to the hospital).
How is the POLST form used?
- A nurse, social worker or your doctor completes the form making sure the treatments are what you want.
- The doctor signs the orders, making them official immediately.
- The orders are kept near you at all times, usually on your refrigerator or your bed if you are at home, or in your medical chart if you are in a care facility. The form is easily found in emergencies.
- The POLST form will remain with you if you are transported between care settings.
What I want to change something on my POLST form?
The POLST orders can be changed by you and your doctor at any time.
What are some of the medical terms used when talking about your treatment choices?
- Resuscitation, also known as "CPR," attempts to restart the heartbeat of a person who has no heartbeat or who has stopped breathing. It typically involves artificial breathing and forceful pressure on the chest to restart the heart. It also might involve electrical shock and/or a plastic tube down the throat into the windpipe to assist breathing (this is called "intubation"). When a person is not breathing on his or her own, a machine pumps air in and out of the lungs (called "mechanical ventilation/respiration").
- "DNR" means "do not resuscitate" when a patient does not want it or it is unlikely to help the patient.
- "Comfort measures" is medical care focused on the main goal of keeping a person comfortable (rather than focused on medical procedures that may prolong life).
- Tube feeding or IV fluids are choices you may want or may not want.
- When you discuss these treatment choices for yourself, you will be provided with information and discussion that will help you decide which choice is better for you.
What if I have more questions or concerns about POLST?
We encourage you to talk with your doctor and your healthcare team about your condition and your treatment choices. The POLST form and this information can help guide discussions with your healthcare team.
If I have a POLST form, do I need an Advance Directive (Living Will), too?
Yes, it is recommended that you have an Advance Healthcare Directive (AHCD).
The POLST form reinforces the wishes that you express in your AHCD. The POLST form presents those wishes in an easy-to-understand way.
Click for our Advance Directive information.
Additional contact information:
- Kno-Wal-Lin – Anna Peterson – 594-9561
- Pen Bay Medical Center – Mary Beth Hill – 596-8493
- Quarry Hill – Janet O'Brien –230-6236
- Knox Center – Anne Norman – 594-6852
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