The Consistency Between Treatments Provided to Nursing Facility Residents and Orders on the Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment Form
Article first published online: 22 OCT 2011
© 2011, Copyright the Authors Journal compilation © 2011, The American Geriatrics Society
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
Volume 59, Issue 11, pages 2091–2099, November 2011
How to Cite
Hickman, S. E., Nelson, C. A., Moss, A. H., Tolle, S. W., Perrin, N. A. and Hammes, B. J. (2011), The Consistency Between Treatments Provided to Nursing Facility Residents and Orders on the Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment Form. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 59: 2091–2099. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2011.03656.x
- Issue published online: 18 NOV 2011
- Article first published online: 22 OCT 2011
- National Institute of Nursing Research. Grant Number: NR009784
- end of life;
- comfort care;
- palliative care;
- nursing facility
To evaluate the consistency between treatments provided and Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) orders.
Retrospective chart abstraction.
Stratified, random sample of 90 nursing facilities in Oregon, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.
Eight hundred seventy living and deceased nursing facility residents aged 65 and older with a minimum 60-day stay.
Chart data about POLST form orders and related treatments over a 60-day period were abstracted. Decision rules were created to determine whether the rationale for each treatment was consistent with POLST orders.
Most residents (85.2%) had the same POLST form in place during the review period. A majority of treatments provided to residents with orders for comfort measures only (74.3%) and limited antibiotics (83.3%) were consistent with POLST orders because they were primarily comfort focused rather than life-prolonging, but antibiotics were provided to 32.1% of residents with orders for no antibiotics. Overall consistency rates between treatments and POLST orders were high for resuscitation (98%), medical interventions (91.1%), and antibiotics (92.9%) and modest for feeding tubes (63.6%). In all, POLST orders were consistent with treatments provided 94.0% of the time.
With the exception of feeding tubes and antibiotic use in residents with orders for no antibiotics, the use of medical treatments was nearly always consistent with POLST orders to provide or withhold life-sustaining interventions. The POLST program is a useful tool for ensuring that the treatment preferences of nursing facility residents are honored.