Physician Order for Scope of Treatment (“POST”) Form? Do I Need One as Part of My Estate Plan?
What is a POST Order?
A POST is a standard state-approved form in Michigan that involves a common clinical process designed to facilitate communication between health care professionals and patients with serious illness. The form is expected to be available soon through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The goal of the order is to encourage shared, informed decision making between a patient and his or her health professional before the signing of the form. The discussion should entail an overview of the current diagnosis, treatment option, and the patient’s goals.
Who Will be Eligible to Sign a POST?
Currently, only adults with a serious illness where death would be foreseeable within one year are permitted to use the form. Also, to sign a POST form a patient must have the capacity needed to be able to participate in medical treatment decisions. However, where a patient had previously created a valid health care power of attorney designation, the patient advocate may consent to a POST order for them.
How is a POST Different from a Power of Attorney, Living Will, or DNR Order?
Health care power of attorney forms, when drafted correctly, allows a patient advocate/agent to make health care decision when the principle is unable to do so for themselves. Living Will, document that provide a clear and convincing expression of a patient’s certain health decision and end-of-life decision. DNR orders involve an order to withhold or withdraw treatment that would allow a patient to die. While there are similarities the contrast with a POST is that it is focused on terminally ill patients, making end of life decisions more predictable, and expanding upon the DNR by allowing the option of choosing resuscitation but limiting other medical treatments.
What Role do Attorney’s Play?
Estate planning or elder law attorneys currently do not need to be involved in the creation of a POST order. However, lawyers still have the important job of informing you on what a POST does and does not do. The POST order is a useful tool for some folks and should not be a seen as a replacement for other advance care directives, but rather a supplement to the already important estate planning tools that exist for Health Care and end-of-life decisions.
When meeting with your attorney, it would be a good idea to check if your current patient advocate has the authority to create a POST agreement for you.
** Disclaimer - The information you obtain from this blog post is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. (firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-335-0713). Please visit www.mattdevittlaw.com for additional information.