Advance Care Planning
The process of considering, discussing, and documenting what is most important to you when you experience serious illness or a health care crisis. What are your goals for treatment? Is length of life or quality of life most important to you? How do you define "quality of life"? Where do you want to receive care? Are there treatment you definitely want or don't want to receive? Whom do you want to help you with those decisions for make them for you when you can't? Your doctor and your loved ones can help you sort through these issues and make a record of your choices. More information . . .
The legal and medical documents you complete to record your preferences, such as an Advance Health Care Directive, Living Will, Medical Durable Power of Attorney, CPR directive. They're called "advance" directives because you complete them ahead of the time they will be needed. More information . . .
POLST or MOST
POLST stands for Physician's Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, and MOST stands for Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment. These forms are used in some states to document and communicate a small set of essential decisions about life-sustaining treatment when patients are not able to speak for themselves. They are different from advance directives in that they are signed by a physician or other healthcare provider and are viewed and acted on as medical orders, like a prescription. They are used to communicate important choices as patients transition from one setting to the next. More information . . .
Care that focuses on relief of pain and other distressing symptoms, instead of cure, and pays attention to social, emotional, psychological, spiritual and practical concerns. Palliative care is usually provided by an interdisciplinary team including a doctor, nurse, social worker, and sometimes chaplain. It can be offered along with curative treatment. In hospitals, palliative care consultations can help clarify your goals and choices and help your other doctors relieve your distress. Palliative care is also available from specialty clinics, or by hospice agencies as a supportive program that doesn't require hospice enrollment. More information . . .
A specialty level of palliative care for persons with terminal illness -- that is, with a condition that their doctor believes will likely cause their death within six months. Hospice is a fully covered Medicare Benefit (also available under Medicaid), and many private ensurers also cover hospice care. If you are enrolled in Medicare, you must forego curative care in order to receive hospice care; but you can "check out" of hospice any time if you wish to resume curative treatment. A team of professionals cares for the patient in his or her home, including nursing homes, assisted living, hospitals, and dedicated hospice residences. More information . . .