Start the Conversation

The Nevada POLST form can help make conversations about illness and end of life easier and make sure that each person’s wishes are known and respected. Conversations about end-of-life decisions can be difficult for everyone involved – patients, families, and even physicians, but they are necessary.

The POLST is Different and Requires a Discussion
The POLST form has sections that address CPR, Medical Interventions, use of antibiotics to treat infections, and artificially administered nutrition. Most patients are unaware of the implications of these treatments if they already have a serious life-limiting illness or serious frailty. There are also aspects of the POLST that could be contradictory and confusing to health care providers if they are not addressed on the POLST form. For example, it would be difficult to honor both if a patient chooses “Attempt Resuscitation” and “No Intensive Care Admission” or wants TPN but no lab work. Therefore, a discussion of the treatment options and their rationale are crucial.

How to Start the Conversation
Although these conversations can be difficult, with practice the can become easier and satisfying. Browse the following; you are sure to find a method that matches your style:

Handouts for Patients
The following may be especially helpful to patients and their representatives or surrogates in explaining what each treatment involves and how effective it may be in the patient’s particular situation.