As we get older, there are many steps we take in order to prepare for the future. Most people draft a Last Will and Testament (a “will”) to determine what will happen to their finances and assets but there are other equally important forms that we should prioritize completing as well, such as a Maryland Order for Life Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) form.
Completing a MOLST form helps ensure your wishes for your health care are recorded and followed when you may not be able to advocate for yourself. The MOLST form process begins with a Health Care Decision Worksheet that allows an individual to document their preferences regarding ventilation, blood products, antibiotics, transfer to hospital, medical tests, artificial nutrition and kidney dialysis. It also allows them to explicitly state in the event of a medical emergency whether they wish to have CPR performed or not, also known as Do Not Resuscitate (DNR). Once completed, the Health Care Decision Worksheet is then signed by the individual, their Medical Power of Attorney if they have one, and a member of their health care team. Next, the MOLST form is generated based on the patient’s responses and then becomes the order that will guide rescue personnel, family, hospital staff and any link to medical care.
The MOLST may be changed or updated at any point in time. There is no age limit to completing a MOLST form but it becomes critical for individuals who are in fragile health, are over 60 years old, or wish to be sure their medical wishes are followed when they cannot speak for themselves.
It is important to keep this document in an easily accessible location (i.e. car, purse, on the refrigerator) should an EMS provider or other health care professional need it in the event of a medical emergency. If you do not have a DNR order on your MOLST form, EMS personnel in Maryland are required to attempt resuscitation.
At Mountain Laurel Medical Center, our team of Community Health Workers can assist any Mountain Laurel patient who wishes to complete a MOLST form. Additionally, they can aid with other forms such as designating Medical Power of Attorney and drafting a Living Will. Mountain Laurel Medical Center also works with a company named IRIS who can guide and support the patient and their family through the whole process and provide the appropriate legal documentation. After consultation with an IRIS representative, the MOLST form is then sent to the patient’s provider to sign and then distributed to the appropriate parties. Advanced Directive planning through IRIS is a free service for Mountain Laurel Medical Center patients.
Other important forms to consider completing include Power of Attorney and Living Will (these are combined in the same document in Maryland). All documents should be reviewed yearly to ensure they reflect the individual’s wishes and current health status and can be updated as desired.
Planning ahead for the future is a gift to our helpers, our family, and to ourselves, ensuring that our wishes will be heard and followed should we not be able to speak for ourselves. Mountain Laurel Medical Center encourages all individuals to make their voice heard by completing an Advanced Directive and MOLST form today.