The Quality of POLST Completion to Guide Treatment: A 2-State Study

Alvin H. Moss, Dana Zive, Evan C. Falkenstine, Courtney Dunithan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objectives: Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) need to be complete and consistent to allow health care personnel to honor patient preferences in a time of emergency. The purpose of our study was to evaluate the quality of POLST completion to guide treatment for level of medical intervention. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cross-sectional study combined data from the Oregon and West Virginia POLST registries for the study period January 1, 2010, through December 31, 2016. All POLST form resuscitation (section A) and level of medical intervention (section B) orders were reviewed. Measurements: Percent of POLST form orders in sections A and B with and without contradictions. Results: During the study period, there were 268,386 POLST forms in the Oregon POLST Registry and 10,122 forms in the West Virginia e-Directive Registry. Of the forms, 99.2% in Oregon and 96.6% in West Virginia contained orders in both sections A and B. There were contradictions on 0.11% of forms from Oregon and 2.53% from West Virginia. Conclusions: The quality of POLST form completion in the Oregon and West Virginia registries is good with less than 10% of forms lacking orders in sections A and B and containing contradictory orders. This study indicates what type of results are possible with statewide education, likely through POLST Paradigm Programs. Further research is needed to determine the quality of POLST form completion in other states and other factors that contribute to their quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
StateAccepted/In press - 2017


  • Advance care planning
  • End-of-life care
  • Internet registry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Medicine(all)
  • Health Policy


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