The term “MOLST Order” has become a hot one in the areas of estate planning, guardianship, and end-of-life decision-making. But creating a MOLST Order can have a significant impact, so it’s important to understand the implications. This article provides a starting point, but before actually moving forward with a MOLST Order – either on your own behalf or for someone over whom you have a guardianship – let Frain and Associates provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision.
The term MOLST stands for “Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment.” A “MOLST form” is a standardized medical order form that contains valid medical orders. A MOLST Order is typically made by a person (or the guardian of a person) who is nearing the end of their life due to serious and advancing medical conditions.
A MOLST form is different than a health care proxy. A health care proxy appoints a person called a “health care agent” to make medical decisions on someone’s behalf if they are unable to make such decisions. Technically, a health care proxy is considered a “legal” document, whereas a MOLST form is considered a “medical document.” And a MOLST form must be signed both by a patient and a clinician.
Because of these differences, it can be advisable to both execute a MOLST form and to appoint a health care agent. In fact, virtually any legally competent adult will want to appoint a health care agent. Executing a MOLST form, by contrast, is most relevant to end-of-life planning.
There are three substantive components to a MOLST form, and it is possible to select some but not all components. The three components relate to (1) cardiopulmonary resuscitation; (2) ventilation and intubation; and (3) transfer to a hospital.
In future articles, we will discuss further the components of a MOLST form, and will also explore further the situation of a guardian executing a MOLST form on behalf of an incapacitated person.