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Specific requirements for changing directives may vary by state.
You should choose a person who meets the following criteria: The person you name may be a spouse, other family member, friend or member of a faith community.
You may also choose one or more alternates in case the person you chose is unable to fulfill the role.
A POLST is intended for people who have already been diagnosed with a serious illness. Instead, it serves as doctor-ordered instructions — not unlike a prescription — to ensure that, in case of an emergency, you receive the treatment you prefer.
Your doctor will fill out the form based on the contents of your advance directives, the discussions you have with your doctor about the likely course of your illness and your treatment preferences. If you are in a hospital or nursing home, the document is posted near your bed.
Living wills and other advance directives are written, legal instructions regarding your preferences for medical care if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.
Advance directives guide choices for doctors and caregivers if you're terminally ill, seriously injured, in a coma, in the late stages of dementia or near the end of life. Unexpected end-of-life situations can happen at any age, so it's important for all adults to prepare these documents.
Choosing a person to act as your health care agent is important.
Even if you have other legal documents regarding your care, not all situations can be anticipated and some situations will require someone to make a judgment about your likely care wishes.
Links to state-specific forms can be found on the websites of various organizations such as the American Bar Association, AARP and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
Review your advance directives with your doctor and your health care agent to be sure you have filled out forms correctly.