Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) is a standardized, voluntary form that allows a seriously ill patient to provide preferences for certain medically appropriate life-sustaining treatments into valid medical orders that may be honored by all health care professionals. The form contains valid medical orders concerning:
- Transfer o a hospital
- Artificial Nutrition
- Artificial Hydration and
- Other treatment preferences.
MOLST is based upon the ethical and legal principles of patient self-determination and respect for patient autonomy. Its instructions are effective immediately and reflect the patient’s current health status and preferences. MOLST is suitable for patients of any age with a serious medical condition including, but not limited to: life threatening disease, chronic progressive disease, dementia, life threatening injury, or medical frailty.
A valid MOLST must be signed by both the patient (or the patient’s health care proxy – but only if the patient has lost capacity, or the patient’s guardian) and the attending physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant.
A Health Care Proxy and MOLST are two different forms used in Massachusetts to express a person’s wishes about their own medical care. These forms are used for different reasons and at different times in health care planning. Although MOLST is not intended to be drafted by elder law attorneys, attorneys should ensure that there are no inconsistencies between a Health Care Proxy and the MOLST.
Todd C. Ratner, Esq.
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