POLST Registries

Supporting End of Life Decision Making
PRS Briefs
PRS Policy Brief 1314-03
Thursday, April 10, 2014

With an aging population and ballooning medical expenditures, end of life care has become an issue of prime importance for the State of New Hampshire and the country as a whole. The Physician Order for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) paradigm has become a particularly influential approach to end of life treatment. POLST is focused on forms that allow doctors to transform patients’ wishes into medically actionable orders so that a patient’s wishes are respected even if that patient loses the ability to communicate his or her treatment preferences. Integral to the success of the POLST paradigm is healthcare provider’s access to POLST forms. Seven states have created or hope to create in the near future registries that can store POLST forms to make the information easily accessible in case of an emergency. This report analyzes the various state registries in order to give an overview of how POLST functions in each of those states.