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What do reporters need to know about Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)?

You’d think that advance directives signed by people with serious, life-threatening illnesses would ensure their treatment preferences or end-of-life wishes would be carried out. Too often this isn’t the case. One solution lies in Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLSTs), which are summaries of a patient’s advance directives related to their current medical situation. When signed by the patient’s physician (and increasingly, the patient), these summaries become physician’s orders. They are medically and legally recognized documents that are placed up front in the patient’s written and electronic medical records.

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