Why do I need to find and follow POLST orders? Patients have the right to express their preferences regarding life-sustaining treatments. The Scope of Practice for Emergency Medical Providers states, “An emergency medical services provider, acting through standing orders, must respect the patient’s wishes including life-sustaining treatments. Physician-supervised emergency medical services providers must request and honor life-sustaining treatment orders executed by a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant if available. A patient with life-sustaining treatment orders always requires respect, comfort and hygienic care.”
When do POLST orders apply? POLST orders apply any time EMS is called or the patient is transferred to the ED. However, a patient with decision-making capacity can request other treatment at any time. Patients with Comfort Measures Only usually would not want to go to the hospital, unless comfort cannot be achieved without transport.
Are copies and eSignatures valid?
Yes! Copies of POLST forms are valid. Electronically completed forms (ePOLSTs) may have eSignatures that don’t look like a handwritten signature, these are 100% valid. POLST form copies and ePOLSTs may be printed on white paper that is OKAY, they are valid.
How will EMS & Emergency Departments access the POLST Registry? Call the POLST Registry Hotline 24/7/365 at the OHSU Emergency Communications Center (ECC) for immediate POLST form requests.
What is the Registry Hotline number? Contact the Registry business office to request the restricted (not public) hotline number.
What patient information should I have available when calling the Registry Hotline?
» Full name
» Date of birth
» Registry ID
» Last 4 digits of SSN
» Street address
What is the POLST Registry ID? It is a unique identifier assigned to each patient. The ID may be found on a magnet (pictured above) or sticker in the home or with patients’ personal effects.
What POLST information will the POLST Registry Hotline staff provide? Staff can verbally relay Section A and B orders, additional order text, Registry ID, and the date the POLST form was signed. The POLST form can also be faxed to the emergency department that is, or will be, treating the patient.
What if I have questions about the POLST orders? Registry staff cannot interpret POLST orders. If there is a question about how to proceed with the POLST information provided, contact your On-Line Medical Control (OLMC). Hospital staff should follow their standard protocols.
Need to schedule training? Click the link to request a Registry training session.