ElderLaw News — The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. — MD, VA, DC
ElderLaw News

ElderLaw News is a weekly e-newsletter that brings you reports of legal developments and other trends of vital interest to seniors and their advocates. This newsletter is brought to you by The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., William S. Fralin, Esq., President.

Physicians Orders for Scope of Treatment (POST)

POST—Physicians Orders for Scope of Treatment—is a signed physician's order for medical care that follows, reflects and implements a patient's wishes about his/her health care in a document that travels across care settings.

A patient's physician writes the POST order based on the patient's wishes as identified in discussions with the patient, his/her family, or a trained Certified Advanced Care Planning POST facilitator. POST provides a framework for care providers to put in place orders that ensure that patients who have a chronic, progressive illness or a serious health condition or who are medically frail receive the treatment they want and avoid those treatments they do not want.

POST (in some states call Physician's Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment or POLST) was first developed in the 1990s in response to concerns that Do Not Resuscitate Orders and Advance Directives do not assure that a patient's wishes for life-sustaining treatments are consistently understood and honored. To date, over 30 states have implemented or are in the process of implementing similar initiatives.

POST:

--Gives seriously ill patients more control in their decision-making

--Stimulates conversations with patients and families to identify a patient's wishes in advance of an emotionally-charged situation

--Relieves families of the burden of guesswork or assumptions regarding care when a patient is no longer able to make those decisions

--Decreases a patient's suffering and promotes comfort during serious illness

--Uses a standardized format to set out specific procedural care decisions

--Is similar to Virginia's Durable DNR Order but addresses preferences about other treatment options-- not just CPR

--Is portable and transferable among care settings

POST does not:

--Deny patients treatment at the end of life

--Decrease patient choices

POST does not replace but complements an advance directive. An advance directive allows an individual to appoint the person they want to speak on their behalf and provides a broad outline of the individual's wishes relating to future care. However, advance directives are not physician orders and may not address the patient's specific current condition or may be unavailable when needed. POST

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Maryland (301) 214-2229
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The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C.

The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. is an elder law firm. We represent older persons, disabled persons, their families, and their advocates. The practice of elder law includes estate planning, estate and trust administration, powers of attorney, advance medical directives, titling of assets and designations of beneficiaries, guardianships, conservatorships, and public entitlements such as Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and SSI, disability planning, income tax planning and preparation, care management, and fiduciary services. For more information about The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., please visit our website at http://www.chroniccareadvocacy.com.

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