Quick Guide to POLST and DNR
- POLST stands for Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment. In Maine, the form is green and should be kept by your bed or on the refrigerator.
- DNR stands for Do Not Resuscitate.
- These forms are doctors’ orders, so that they must be discussed with and signed by you and your physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner.
- They are used in emergency situations only (when heart or breathing stops) so that first responders know how you want to be treated.
- Emergency responders will always listen to you first if you are conscious, clear, and can answer questions.
- These forms are useful for the frail elderly or people with a terminal or life-threatening illness, who may see no benefit in being “brought back to life.”
- POLST form includes directions about life-sustaining measures such as CPR, intubation, antibiotic use and feeding tubes. DNR refers only to CPR.
- If you have a signed DNR form and enter the hospital or nursing home, your doctor must also write a DNR order in your care plan.
- Ask your primary care physician for a POLST form, or order one through the Maine Hospice Council (firstname.lastname@example.org or call 207-626-0651)