POLST 2014

New Legislation Expands APRNs Signing Authority on POLST

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Governor Abercrombie has signed Act 154 into law, authorizing APRNs (Advanced Practice Registered Nurses) to sign a POLST (Provider Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) form.   This expansion recognizes the important role APRNs play in providing care to patients in a variety of settings and will expand access to and ensure more timely completion of POLST, a key tool to having seriously ill patient’s wishes honored.  Previously only physicians were allowed to sign a POLST.

POLST is a medical order that gives patients more control over their end-of-life care. It specifies the types of treatments that a patient wishes to receive towards the end of life. The POLST form documents those decisions in a clear manner and can be quickly understood by all providers, including first responders and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel. “Completing a POLST form encourages communication between healthcare providers and patients, enabling patients to make more informed decisions,” said Dr. Libby Char, POLST Task Force and Emergency Physician. “The changes in this bill allow our community members to have greater access to specifying their wishes and having them honored in the event they are unable to speak for themselves.”

Kōkua Mau, Hawaii’s Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, spearheaded the effort to bring together a wide group of committed organizations and individuals to make these changes to POLST. New POLST forms can be downloaded off the Kōkua Mau website as well as free handouts on Tubefeeding, Questions about CPR, Guides for Providers and Consumers and information on Advance Directives.  Visit www.kokuamau.org/polst

Kōkua Mau thanks the health care community for their support and recognition of the importance of POLST in ensuring quality of life for those facing serious illness, including Healthcare Association of Hawaii, Queen’s Medical Center, UH Center on Nursing, HMSA, Hospice Hawaii, and Hawaii Pacific Health.

If you would like to request a speaker for your group or a training for your staff on the importance of POLST and Advance Care Planning, please contact Jeannette Koijane