Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) is a medical order that aims to enable seriously ill patients to designate the treatments they want and to ensure that those preferences are honored by medical professionals.
The Georgia POLST Collaborative is a part of the National POLST Paradigm and aims to educate patients, families and health care professionals throughout the state about the GA POLST.
All Georgians will have their health care preferences known and honored.
The mission of the Georgia POLST Collaborative is to improve healthcare at the end of life through:
1. Promoting the utilization of the POLST form by healthcare professionals and institutions across the state
2. Educating Georgians about advance care planning and the role of the POLST in having their wishes honored
The POLST Paradigm originated in Oregon in 1991 out of concern from medical ethicists that patient end-of-life care preferences were not consistently honored. The success of this program sparked a national movement and, one by one, other states began to tailor the Paradigm to fit their unique legal, medical and cultural contexts. The initial POLST Paradigm programs were founded in New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. In 2004, the National POLST Paradigm Initiative Task Force convened to foster the expansion of POLST programs across the country, and eventually this expansive effort reached Georgia.
The POLST form was initially used in Georgia in 2007 in the WellStar Health System, and its use began to grow independently in isolated hospitals throughout the state. In an effort to promote the form statewide, the WellStar Health System collaborated with Georgia Health Decisions to work toward legislative support of the form. In 2012, the Georgia Department of Public Health developed and made available the legally recognized POLST form to be used in Georgia, and the Georgia POLST Collaborative was formed to promote POLST usage. Georgia became the 16th state to have a POLST program endorsed by the National POLST Paradigm. Small clarifications were made to the document by DPH on April 27, 2016 and this is the form used today.
The Georgia POLST Collaborative currently consists of over 40 statewide organizations.
Download the Georgia POLST form here.