Yaw Reintroduces Legislation to Represent Patients’ Wishes for End-of-Life Care

HARRISBURG – This week Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23) announced the reintroduction of legislation recognizing Pennsylvania Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST), a form completed by a medical professional in consultation with the patient in order to better translate health care wishes of patients with serious health conditions.

Senate Bill 631 provides a legal basis for POLST forms to be used by medical professionals across all health care settings for seriously ill patients who voluntarily wish to specify the treatment they desire to receive.

“The use of a POLST gives those patients more control of their treatment by allowing them to talk with their doctors and loved ones about their end-of-life choices in a sensitive manner and providing clear direction to medical professionals making treatment decisions on their behalf,” Sen. Yaw said. “POLST orders can help ensure that a patient’s wishes are known and honored.”

Yaw explained that POLST orders are different from advance directives in that POLST orders convert an individual’s wishes regarding health care into a medical order that is immediately actionable and applicable. Advance directives often only name a surrogate decision-maker to make health care decisions for the individual or can lack specificity as to the individual’s goals and preferences for a medical condition unforeseen by the individual.

“The Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) supports this proposed legislation that would provide a framework and legal authority for POLST, which ensures qualified individuals have the right to determine personal end-of-life decisions in a manner that is sensitive with each patient’s unique medical situation. PAMED applauds Senator Gene Yaw for championing this legislation.”

For more state-related news and information, constituents can visit Senator Yaw’s website at www.SenatorGeneYaw.com or follow him on Facebook and Twitter @SenatorGeneYaw.


CONTACT: Elizabeth Weitzel

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