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Advance Directives and POLST

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Advance Directive

Health care decisions at the end of life may include decisions that must be made when a person becomes incapacitated and unable to make decisions for themselves. Oregon law requires that "living wills" and "durable powers of attorney" for health care decisions must be set forth on a standard form called an advance directive.Oregon Right to Life recommends that an advance directive is used to appoint a trusted person to be the one to make those decisions for the patient if he/she becomes incapacitated. Due to the removal of legal protections from Oregon law, we recommend that Oregonians fill out the advance directive below. The advance directive incorporates that the presumption should be for life.

Make sure your physician, your health care representative, and you have copies of the completed document.[Oregon Right to Life cannot provide you with legal advice. If you have questions when filling out an advance directive, please contact an attorney.]

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POLST

The Physician Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) is different from an advance directive.The POLST form, initially designed to decrease unnecessary health care interventions at the end of life, is being promoted as a tool for decreasing healthcare costs and has several limitations:

  • Becomes a physician'sorder and must be followed
  • Is simplistic and may not reflect current medical circumstances
  • Can easily be misused
  • It is inflexible and in most cases, overrides any decisions the person you have chosen to have power of attorney can make

Unless you have a prognosis of less than one year to live, Oregon Right to Life discourages filling out a POLST form.[Oregon Right to Life cannot provide you with legal advice. If you have questions when filling out an advance directive, please contact an attorney.]