An advance directive is a document which outlines the kind of medical attention a person
wants to go through later in life when he/she cannot speak or make a decision. It guides family
members and doctors on what to do to a person in the case of a serious illness or injury which
makes a person unable to speak out his/her mind.
An advanced directive can be obtained from different websites which comply with the
legislation involved in the provision of these services. Caringinfo is a good example of a website
where this document can be obtained from. Considering the various states which have different
provisions of this document, Caringinfo outlines a number of these states and the individual
requirements of advanced directives (Silveira & Rodgers, 2018). Compliance with state laws is
critical in dealing with advance directives since sensitive legal procedures are included in the
documents and this requires prior understanding to avoid conflicts which may arise later. In
some cases, the directives of the people involved in the advance directives differ from those of
family members and doctors and therefore there is a need for an established legal framework to
guide in the execution of the requirements of advanced directives. The Federal Patient Self
Determination Act outlines the rights of healthcare users to be able to set standards on how they
wish to be treated later in their lives. The law requires that such people should be in their normal
mind when making this commitment and therefore, such people must be of sound mind at the
time of filing this document. The federal law also states that only adults are allowed to make
such decisions as children might not be able to make decisions on their own. The law states that
these people have the right to have an appointed health care agent in their later life or accept or
refuse medical treatments at will. In other cases, people accept or refuse surgical treatments. The
ADVANCE DIRECTIVES AND POLST 3
parties which must comply with the law include nursing homes, hospitals, medical care
providers, Medicaid personal care providers and health maintenance organizations. This law
applies to mental health by stating that individuals with mental illness have equal rights with
other health care users. However, there are a few instances where the obligations outlined in the
advance directives cannot be honored. The law gives a clear guideline on these instances.
In the state of Arizona, advance directives are accepted by the laws of the state. People
are free to outline the conditions in which medical attention will be provided to them later in
their lives and issues such as donating body organs are well outlined in the legal procedures. The
form from the attorney should be filled and attain the requirements stated with witnesses. Copies
of these forms are then given to family members, health care agents, and personal doctors
(WSMA, 2017). The forms can be obtained from law offices, hospitals, and doctors’ offices. The
law also states that a person can change or cancel the advance directive at will at any time
provided the required procedures are followed.
Filling the advance directive is easy as the forms are well arranged and the slots where
the individuals should fill are well indicated. However, some state obligations and legislation are
hard to understand and require the interpretation of an attorney.
A POLST Form is a medical order which should be followed by emergency personnel in
the event of a medical emergency for a person. It works in the case where a person cannot speak
for oneself. A personal doctor or nurse must sign the POLST form for it to be valid. This form is
essential towards the end of the life of a person since it outlines the procedures which a person
wants to be followed in providing medical attention to them.
ADVANCE DIRECTIVES AND POLST 4
This form should be completed whenever and wherever a person feels the need to prepare
for an emergency. A physician should, however, be notified when this form is signed.
The form needs to be signed by a physician to make it valid and sound. Nurses and other medical
practitioners are not allowed to sign this document in most states.
Physician orders for life-sustaining treatment is an important document in healthcare. It
caters for emergencies which hinder a person from making a decision on their own such as
accidents and commas. On the other hand, the advance health care directive provides prior
guidelines for physicians and family members to follow when giving medical attention to the
people who make such decisions. The document caters for events in which a person cannot
decide for themselves as a result of medical conditions which incapacitate them from speaking or
making a decision for themselves. In other cases, the document caters for events of death when
procedures such as organ donation should be performed.
In both cases, patients’ rights are important and they should be taken seriously (Moore, Rubin, &
Halpern, 2016). Attorneys must, therefore, understand well that patients’ rights must be
respected in a bid to choose the healthcare interventions which should be performed on them and
the ones which should not be performed when these people cannot make decisions for
themselves, either as a result of emergencies, serious illness or death. End of life options are
widely accepted and the legal procedures attached to such decisions are paramount (Scotti,
2016). In conclusion, patient preferences should be the guide to the provision of medical and
healthcare in later life when the patients cannot make sound decisions for themselves.
ADVANCE DIRECTIVES AND POLST 5
Moore, K. A., Rubin, E. B., & Halpern, S. D. (2016). The Problems with Physician Orders for
Life-Sustaining Treatment. JAMA, 315(3), 259. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.17362
Scotti, S. (2016, March 5). Physician orders for life-sustaining treatment. Retrieved from
Silveira, M. J., & Rodgers, P. (2018). Advance directives and advance care planning. Oxford
Scholarship Online. doi:10.1093/oso/9780198802136.003.0020
WSMA. (2017, July 17). Advance Directives. Retrieved from https://wsma.org/advance-