End-of-life issues can be difficult to consider and talk about. That's why the Catholic Conference of Illinois and the Illinois Catholic Health Association asked a Catholic ethicist to put together a question-and-answer sheet on Illinois' voluntary POLST (Practitioner Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) form.
State lawmakers in 2014 passed legislation updating the POLST form, refining the definition of “attending health care practitioner” as a licensed physician, advanced practice nurse, physician assistant, or licensed resident after completion of one year in a program. This practitioner is selected by or assigned to the patient, and has primary responsibility for treatment and care of the patient. The form does not, however, affect an individual’s ability to include instructions in an advance directive, such as a power of attorney for health care.
The Catholic Conference of Illinois, Illinois Catholic Health Association, Catholic health care ethicists, and the Illinois bishops' vicars for health care were involved in crafting the new POLST form.