The Oregon Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment Registry: A Preliminary Study of Emergency Medical Services Utilization

ArticleinJournal of Emergency Medicine 44(4) · January 2013with8 Reads
DOI: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2012.07.081 · Source: PubMed
BACKGROUND: The Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form translates patient treatment preferences into medical orders. The Oregon POLST Registry provides emergency personnel 24-h access to POLST forms. OBJECTIVE: To determine if Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) can use the Oregon POLST Registry to honor patient preferences. METHODS: Two telephone surveys were developed: one for the EMT who made a call to the Registry and one for the patient or the surrogate. The EMT survey was designed to determine if the POLST form accessed through the Registry changed the care of the patient. The patient/surrogate survey was designed to determine if the care provided matched the preferences on the POLST. When feasible, the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) record was reviewed to determine whether or not treatment was provided. RESULTS: During the study period there were 34 EMS calls with matches to patients' POLST forms, and 23 interviews were completed with EMS callers, for a response rate of 68%. In seven cases (30%) the patient was in cardiopulmonary arrest; one patient had a respiratory arrest with a pulse. Eight respondents (35%) reported that the patient was conscious and apparently able to make decisions about preferences. For 10 cases (44%) the POLST orders changed treatment, and in six instances (26%) they affected the decision to transport the patient. For the 10/11 patients or surrogates interviewed, the care reportedly matched their wishes. CONCLUSION: This small study suggests that an electronic registry of POLST forms can be used by EMTs to enhance their ability to locate and honor patient preferences regarding life-sustaining treatments.
    • "On pourrait espérer pouvoir sécuriser ces documents en facilitant le dépôt par le médecin, de ces formulaires POLST à l'issue de leur élaboration, sur un site national dédié, et accessible ultérieurement à tout soignant via la carte CPS. Ainsi l'Oregon [72] et l'Alberta [73] ont mis en place un registre informatique des POLST. La fiabilité de ce registre semble correcte (3 % des POLST enregistrées ne sont pas retro- uvées) [74]. "
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  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract Emergency medical service (EMS) is frequently called to care for a seriously ill patient with a life-threatening or life-limiting illness. The seriously ill include both the acutely injured patients (for example in mass casualty events) and those who suffer from advanced stages of a chronic disease (for example severe malignant pain). EMS therefore plays an important role in delivering realistic, appropriate, and timely care that is consistent with the patient's wishes and in treating distressing symptoms in those who are seriously ill. The purpose of this article is to; 1) review four case scenarios that relate to palliative care and may be commonly encountered in the out-of-hospital setting and 2) provide a road map by suggesting four things to do to start an EMS-palliative care initiative in order to optimize out-of-hospital care of the seriously ill and increase preparedness of EMS providers in these difficult situations. Key Words: Collaboration; emergency medical service; integration; out of hospital; palliative care.
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  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Resuscitation measures should be guided by previous patient choices about end-of-life care, when they exist; however, documentation of these choices can be unclear or difficult to access. We evaluate the concordance of a statewide registry of actionable resuscitation orders unique to Oregon with out-of-hospital and emergency department (ED) care provided for patients found by emergency medical services (EMS) in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. This was a retrospective cohort study of patients found by EMS providers in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in 5 counties in 2010. We used probabilistic linkage to match patients found in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest with previously signed documentation of end-of-life decisions in the Oregon Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) registry. We evaluated resuscitation interventions in the field and ED. There were 1,577 patients found in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, of whom 82 had a previously signed POLST form. Patients with POLST do-not-resuscitate orders for whom EMS was called had resuscitation withheld or ceased before hospital admission in 94% of cases (95% confidence interval [CI] 83% to 99%). Compared with patients with no POLST or known do-not-resuscitate orders, more patients with attempt resuscitation POLST orders had field resuscitation attempted (84% versus 60%; difference 25%; 95% CI 12% to 37%) and were admitted to hospitals (38% versus 17%; difference 20%; 95% CI 3% to 37%), with no documented misinterpretations of the form once CPR was initiated. In this sample of patients in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, out-of-hospital and ED care was generally concordant with previously documented end-of-life orders in the setting of critical illness. Further research is needed to compare the effectiveness of Oregon's POLST system to other methods of end-of-life order documentation.
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