POLST People

Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment Paradigm

The National POLST Paradigm originated in Oregon in 1991 as leading medical ethicists discovered that patient preferences for end-of-life care were not consistently honored. Recognizing that advance directives were inadequate for the patients with serious illness or frailty– who frequently require emergency medical care – a task force was convened by the Center for Ethics in Health Care at OHSU with representatives from stakeholder health care organizations to develop a new method to translate patient preferences into actionable medical orders that follow patients across settings of care.  After several years of evaluation, the program became known as Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST).

As the POLST Paradigm became national, a National POLST Office was developed to support the program and the National POLST Paradigm Task Force, which was formalized in 2004.  The OHSU Center for Ethics in Health Care was able to provide space and support to the fledgling office. Today, the coordination and administration of the National POLST Paradigm, through the National POLST Office, remains with the OHSU CFE and is completely supported through private philanthropy.

To learn more, vist the Oregon POLST Program web site.