WHAT ARE ADVANCE DIRECTIVES?

Advance directives, or “living wills”, are written instructions that allow you to communicate, in advance, your wishes about care and treatment. Oregon’s advance directives allow you to appoint a health care representative or medical power of attorney to make decisions for you, if you are unable to communicate.

WHY DO YOU NEED AN ADVANCE DIRECTIVE?

Advance directives, or “living wills”, are written instructions that allow you to communicate, in advance, your wishes about care and treatment. Oregon’s advance directives allow you to appoint a health care representative or medical power of attorney to make decisions for you, if you are unable to communicate.

WHAT CARE MAY BE INCLUDED IN AN ADVANCE DIRECTIVE?

You may ask for artificial feeding, mechanical ventilators, CPR, antibiotics, dialysis and other invasive procedures.

WHAT OTHER INSTRUCTIONS MIGHT YOU INCLUDE?

You may also want to include that you do not want life-prolonging treatments if you will never recover your physical or mental health. You may request that you do want your life prolonged as long as possible. You may also include what you would want under certain conditions: if you have dementia, if you’re in a coma, if you have advanced disease, that you’d want comfort measures or hospice.

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON’T MAKE YOUR WISHES KNOWN?

If you don’t make your wishes known, everything will be done to keep you alive. This can create stress for family members and friends who will have to make decisions on your behalf without knowing what you would have done. What we don’t know can hurt us! Give doctors permission to be open and honest–and to tell the truth. An advance directive is a “gift” you can give your loved ones.

WHAT IS A POLST FORM?

The POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) form is a brightly colored, medical order form that indicates what types of life-sustaining treatments you do or do not want if you become seriously ill. This is something your health care professional may write and keep in your medical record

WHO SHOULD HAVE A POLST FORM?

The form is most appropriate for those who are seriously ill with a life-limiting or terminal prognosis. Your health care professional can use the POLST form to represent your wishes as clear, specific written medical orders.

WHO COMPLETES AND SIGNS THE POLST FORM?

A health care professional must sign this form in order for it to be followed by other health care professionals. Other health professionals who work with your health care professional may complete the form.

DO I NEED BOTH A POLST FORM AND AN ADVANCE DIRECTIVE?

It’s recommended to have both.

HOW DO I GET A POLST OR ADVANCE DIRECTIVE?

All of our patients are offered both POLST and Advanced Directive forms. We can also assist the patient in filling out the POLST and with instructions for filling out the Advanced Directive. If you have questions or would like forms please call us at Lakeview Home Health and Hospice.

This information was lovingly lifted from our Oregon Hospice Association at www.oregonhospice.org