Study: Confusion on end-of-life forms can cause elderly patients to receive more emergency care than they may have wanted

From the University of Buffalo:

In recent years, Physicians’ Orders for Life Sustaining Treatments (POLST) forms have been seen as an important way to honor the end-of-life wishes of frail elderly or terminally ill patients who cannot speak for themselves.

But while the goal of filling out POLST forms is to let providers know patients’ preferences regarding life-sustaining treatments, the information they contain is often ambiguous, a new University at Buffalo study has found.

Published online yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, the study is called “Decisions by Default: Incomplete and Contradictory POLST in Emergency Care.”

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