Oregon Health & Science University has published an article, "More Oregonians sharing end-of-life wishes with POLST," about a recent paper in the Journal of Palliative Medicine, "Changes Over Time in the Oregon Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment Registry: A Study of Two Decedent Cohorts."
Oregon first started using Physician Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment, or POLST, forms in the 1990s, but a central, statewide POLST database wasn’t established until 2009. POLST-like programs have been adopted or are in development in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. These forms allow patient preferences to be translated into actionable life-sustaining treatment orders that are portable across settings of care.
The study found that 45% of Oregonians who died between 2015-2016 had filled out a POLST form, compared with about 31% between 2010-11, and the length of time between when people filled out the form and died increased from an average of 5 weeks to 21 weeks.
Photo: Betty Lou Hutchens talks with Dr. Susan Tolle, her physician.