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Advance Directives and POLST
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. Before that stage is reached, Oregon Right to Life recommends that a trusted person be appointed to be the one to make those decisions for the patient if he/she becomes incapacitated.
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. Part B of this form is called “Appointing a Health Care Representative”. Oregon Right to Life recommends that you complete this section. Use Part B to appoint someone you trust as your health care representative to make end-of-life treatment decisions for you when you are no longer capable of making those decisions for yourself.
Part C may limit the decisions your trusted health care representative can make. Oregon Right to Life encourages you to leave Part C blank.
Fill out Part D and E to finish the authorization for your health care representative. Make sure your physician, your health care representative and you have copies.
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’s order 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.
Organizations That Can Help
Physicians for Compassionate Care
An Oregon based group of physicians that will promote compassionate care for severely-ill patients without sanctioning or assisting their suicide. Members affirm an ethic based on the principle that all human life is inherently valuable and that the physicians’ roles are to heal illness, alleviate suffering, and provide comfort for the sick and dying.
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone – 503-533-8154
The Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network can provide resources and support for the medically-dependent, persons with disabilities and the incapacitated who are in or potentially facing life-threatening situations.
Phone: 1.855.300.HOPE (4673)
Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network
P.O. Box 521
Narberth, PA 19072
Phone: 1.855.300.HOPE (4673)
This organization is dedicated to promoting the inherent value of human life through guidance in medico-ethical decision-making. Their SafeChoice Workshops provide practical help in crafting your own advance healthcare directive. This assistance of healthcare and ethical counsel will help you with making healthcare treatment choices and choosing someone with similar values to serve on your behalf in the event you lose your capacity to make decisions regarding end-of-life care.
Email: online form http://ncbioethics.org/contact-us/
Dr. Jerome R. Wernow
Northwest Center of Bioethics
5511 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Portland, OR 97215.