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Study Shows Extreme Overuse of POLST in Nursing Homes


A 2012 study looking at the use of Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) forms has found that about 20% of California nursing homes have all of their residents have a POLST form while nearly 40% of nursing homes had at least 90% of their residents have a POLST. The numbers are tremendously high, especially considering that POLST forms are meant for a very small number of people: people who are terminally ill or suffering from a chronic progressive illness likely to end in their death. To read the study, click here.

Unfortunately, it appears that the value of POLST has been overstated at the expense of the often-superior Advance Health Care Directive. In some nursing homes, residents and their family are told that POLSTs are required as part of the admission process. That is entirely not true. While POLST forms serve a needed function for the medically frail or infirm, they appear to be misused in a lot of nursing homes. CANHR is interested in hearing if you or anyone you know has been pushed into signing a POLST form.

Contact us at 800-474-1116.