POLST – Genl Info and 1/11/12 Lecture

Some of you have seen the bright pink POLST form.  POLST stands for Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment.  The form is to be filled out by someone with a life-threatening illness and signed by his/her physician.  It’s ideal if the physician and patient discuss the options raised in the form.


You can get general info on the California version of this form and download a copy at this website:


It’s available in many languages.  The form was recently revised. The latest version is dated 4/1/11.  All California care facilities have required this form for many years.

I plan to bring some to the next caregivers support group meeting on 12/4.


You can find some useful information on talking about advance care planning for the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California website:


On that page are many additional resources. I would like to highlight two of those:

* Five Wishes, fivewishes.org.  Many in our support group recommend using this advance care directive form.  My husband and I have purchased copies of this form for our family members, and discussed it with them.

* “Go Wish” cards.  I bought a couple of sets a year ago and have used them for advance care planning discussions with family members.  Let me know if you’d like to borrow a set prior to the next group meeting; I can bring a set with me if I have some advance warning!


The POLST form was developed at the Oregon Health & Science University. You can read about the POLST “paradigm” here along with a map of what states have POLST programs:



At the Palo Alto Parkinson’s Support Group meeting on January 11, 2012 (next year), a geriatrician at the Palo Alto Medical Clinic will be speaking about the theory behind the POLST.  An RN will be discussing how to fill out the form.  This meeting is held at Avenidas, the senior center in downtown Palo Alto, from 2 to 3:30pm.  No RSVP is required.  Anyone is welcome to attend.