Massachusetts Estate Planning Blog

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment

What is a MOLST form?

Many individuals are familiar with advanced medical directives,  documents formalize our end of life wishes. These directives become effective when a person is incapacitated and can no longer make decisions for him or herself. Massachusetts has recently introduced a new type of advanced directive called the medical order for life sustaining treatment or MOLST form.

The MOLST form is to be used by individuals with “advanced illnesses” so that their decisions relating to life sustaining treatment are known. These documents are different from the health care proxy and living will as they are medical forms used to communicate a patient’s wishes to every medical professional on the person’s care team. 

Before an individual signs one of these forms they should engage in a discussion with medical care providers and family. This is meant to give the patient an overview of his or her current condition, future possibilities and the advantages and disadvantages of life sustaining treatment. After the appropriate discussions have taken place the clinician and individual both sign the form.

The MOLST form is kept in the individual’s medical record for the remainder of his or her treatment. Care providers should refer to the MOLST form in any situation in which life sustaining treatment is necessary.

Some people have criticized the MOLST form saying that it promotes death. They claim that the form presents the options that promote death before those that promote life. These critics believe the form might persuade those that vulnerable to choose death in these situations.

If you are confused about the MOLST form or any other advanced directive, you should speak to an experienced estate planning attorney. 

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| Phone: 781.431.2231
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