The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) announced today wider implementation of a document that makes it simpler for individuals to discuss and plan their own end-of-life care decisions with their physician. The form, called the Louisiana Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment or LaPOST, is a voluntary document that allows individuals to state their preferences for the kinds of care they would like to receive when facing a serious, advanced illness that may eventually limit their ability to speak or direct their own care. LaPOST encourages important communication between doctors and patients, enables patients to make informed decisions, and helps makes these decisions travel easily across care settings.
While the LaPOST document has been available for several years, the completion will now be recorded as an integrated component of the Minimum Data Set (or MDS) assessment which is filled out by health care professionals in nursing homes. LaPOST remains voluntary, but the inclusion in MDS documents the importance for nursing facility residents to choose to outline their wishes for care.
LDH Secretary Kathy H. Kliebert said, "Studies have shown that patients who discuss and plan for their goals of care get better, patient-centered care. It is so important for people to plan for these critical health-care decisions before a medical crisis. I encourage everyone, especially individuals battling a serious illness, to discuss LaPOST with their doctor."
Health care planning through tools like LaPOST gives people the opportunity to consider the kind of care wanted if they became seriously ill or incapacitated and encourages them to talk about their wishes with their family members, health care providers, or legal representatives.
Susan Nelson, MD, Chair of the LaPOST Coalition, says, "We appreciate LDH's recognition of the importance of the LaPOST document when it comes to providing this care and treatment. LaPOST empowers consumers as well as health care professionals. It provides an effective way to make educated decisions about end-of-life-care."
Approved as Act 954 in the 2010 regular session of the State Legislature, LaPOST is an evidence-based model designed to improve end-of-life care for those with serious, advanced illness. It is modeled after the Physician Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) Paradigm (www.polst.org) which is used in many states. LaPOST is created to ensure that persons receive the care they want in the setting they prefer when diagnosed with a serious, advanced illness. LaPOST can improve end-of-life care in Louisiana stating a person's health care wishes and goals of care in the form of a doctor's order that can be transferred across care settings. For more information about LaPOST, visit www.la-post.org.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about LDH, visit www.dhh.louisiana.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow LDH's Twitter account and Facebook.