Objectives: Program was designed to communicate resident/surrogate treatment preferences in the form of medical orders. To assess statewide nursing facility use of the Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) and to identify the patterns of orders documented on residents' POLST forms.
Design: Telephone survey; on-site POLST form review.
Setting: Oregon nursing facilities.
Participants: One hundred forty-six nursing facilities in the telephone survey; 356 nursing facility residents aged 65 and older at seven nursing facilities in the POLST form review.
Measurements: A telephone survey; onsite POLST form reviews.
Results: In the telephone survey, 71% of facilities reported using the POLST program for at least half of their residents. In the POLST form review, do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders were present on 88% of POLST forms. On forms indicating DNR, 77% reflected preferences for more than the lowest level of treatment in at least one other category. On POLST forms indicating orders to resuscitate, 47% reflected preferences for less than the highest level of treatment in at least one other category. The oldest old (> or = 85, n=167) were more likely than the young old (65-74, n=48) to have orders to limit resuscitation, medical treatment, and artificial nutrition and hydration.
Conclusion: The POLST program is widely used in Oregon nursing facilities. A majority of individuals with DNR orders requested some other form of life-extending treatment, and advanced age was associated with orders to limit treatments.
Copyright 2004 American Geriatrics Society