In an April, 2011 report (In Brief 189) AARP outlines the evolution of state POLST programs and provides useful information for states creating such programs or refining existing efforts. AARP describes the program as “...a promising program to elicit and honor the treatment goals of people with advanced progressive illness or frailty.”
The will is present. All that is needed is the money to implement the program.
- For our doctor to sketch out transparently all options for medical treatment.
- To exercise our right to determine procedures we want or do not want. Absent our explicit statements, doctors are obligated to "do everything," even if it the procedure or outcome is not one we would have chosen.
- To relieve our health care agent from the burden of guessing what care we would want.
- To have the opportunity to think about and make decisions about such procedures, should we need them, as dialysis, feeding tubes, resuscitation when the heart stops or breathing apparatus is needed. Chances are, if there is a need there wouldn’t be much time, if any, to make calm and thoughtful decisions.
- To have one document which efficiently follows us from one medical facility to another, which we can revise periodically, which is our independent and thoughtful voice.
Member, The Community Ethics Committee,
Division of Medical Ethics, Harvard Medical School