Provider Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST)

Provider Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) is a system for portable medical orders for patients who their doctor or nurse practitioner think might die within the next twelve months. It is a voluntary program for patients and providers. A key objective is to improve the understanding and communication of a patient’s medical care choices when patients move among different care settings (e.g. nursing home to hospital, hospital to hospice, etc.) Better care transitions and reducing preventable hospital re-admissions is a key Foundation priority through the NH Partnership for Patients.

The development of POLST in New Hampshire is being guided by the NH Healthcare Decisions Coalition, a multi-disciplinary statewide group that continuously seeks to improve health decision making processes.  Resources to assist POLST development include:

The current efforts build upon a pilot POLST program that began in the Seacoast region and Concord in 2004-2005. The Seacoast Region’s effort produced many important lessons that inform our strategy today. In addition, New Hampshire was selected by the National POLST Paradigm Program as one of five states for a grant to support implementation efforts in 2012-2013.  In addition, the Foundation received a grant from the NH Department of Health and Human Services Civil Money Penalty Fund to support POLST implementation in long-term care facilities.

 POLST Facilitator Education Program Training has begun throughout the state and we are offering training to health providers who want to be certified as POLST facilitators for colleagues and staff in their organization and community.  This program is based on the Respecting Choices (RC) Last Steps Program from Gunderson Lutheran Medical Foundation in La Crosse WI.  The Foundation for Healthy Communities partnered with Gunderson Lutheran in 1999 to introduce the Respecting Choices training for advance care planning (ACP) to New Hampshire.   


For the current list of dates and locations please click here.