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Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)

How people want to live and be cared for when they have serious illness or frailty is an issue that affects everyone at some point in life, as either care provider or care receiver. Respect for patient autonomy, an individual’s right to direct the individual’s own medical treatment, is a fundamental ethical principle. As a progressive, terminal illness nears its end, or with advancing old age and worsening chronic comorbidities, there may come a time when an individual decides with the support of family and physicians to limit medical interventions that are unlikely to have benefit and may actually be more of a burden. With information and understanding of one’s health condition and prognosis, and a focus on what is important to a person as ...

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