The Hemlock Society of Florida is planning an advocacy campaign next year to make Florida one of a growing number of states that give citizens more control over their end-of-life care. Oregon, New York, California and other states now have what’s called a Physicians Order for Life Sustaining Treatment or POLST. Printed on brightly colored paper and signed by both the patient and a doctor or nurse practitioner, a POLST helps give seriously ill patients more control over their end-of-life care. A POLST is similar to an advance directive, but differs in two key ways. Unlike an advance directive which allows patients to express their values regarding treatment, a POLST contains actual medical orders. Also, unlike an advance directive, a POLST is designed to be portable from one health care setting to another. Recent research found that a POLST is much more reliable than an advance directive for people who want to avoid unwanted medical interventions. To see a sample POLST form click here.
Currently, the POLST option is not available to Floridians. The Hemlock Society of Florida is supporting an effort by a coalition of medical professionals, representatives of hospice and patient advocates to make Florida one of the states where POLST is legal. To read a recent article on this effort please click here.
We know that being able to make informed choices regarding end-of-life care empowers patients and reduces the fear of the unknown. The Hemlock Society of Florida is working to have POLST legislation adopted in our state. Please support our efforts as we will make this critical reform a reality.