Forms, bracelets help patients control end of life care

WYOMING – Special forms and bracelets available through the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) can help ensure seriously ill patients are able take more control over their decisions and wishes for end-of-life medical care.

Known as the Provider Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form, the document tells medical professionals in emergency departments or emergency responders what a patient has decided about certain medical treatments and extraordinary measures such as ventilators or feeding tubes.

“Many patients have strong beliefs about what is right for them as the end of life nears. We recommend people who are seriously ill or frail consider completing a POLST form to help make their wishes clear,” said Heather Welch, POLST program manager with the WDH Aging Division’s Community Living Section.

Welch said POLST forms are legally binding once executed and becomes part of the patient’s medical record.

“For example, a Wyoming POLST order marked with ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ tells emergency responders not to attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the person for whom the order is issued,” she said.

Any adult who has the capacity to provide informed consent to, or refusal of, medical treatment may execute a POLST form—downloadable here.

“We tell patients who have completed POLST forms to keep the forms with them so they are readily available to medical professionals who may be helping or treating these patients,” Welch said. “POLST bracelets, which serve as easy-to-see POLST notices, are another helpful option.”

WDH recently partnered with StickyJ Medical ID to provide supplementary POLST bracelets for purchase through the company for $27.90.

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