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What is the difference between an advance directive and a POLST?

While an advance directive expresses a person’s choices and may be used by caregivers, family and doctors as supportive evidence of the person’s preferences, it does not have to be followed if deemed ambiguous or not in the person’s best interests. In contrast, the physician orders for life-sustaining treatment (POLST) is a doctor's medical order that remains with people wherever they receive care and must be honored.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.