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MOLST Provides End-of-Life Control – Massachusetts

By Harry S. Margolis

Massachusetts has joined an initiative to provide Massachusetts residents with more control about the care they receive towards the end of life through a process known as Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (“MOLST”).

In the absence of a Do Not Resuscitate (“DNR”) order from a medical professional, health care providers must do whatever they can to revive a patient, no matter her underlying health. A DNR can prevent an often violent resuscitation effort by being posted on a patient’s bed at a hospital or long-term care facility or prominently in the individual’s home.

The MOLST goes farther than a DNR in covering types of care beyond resuscitation, including hydration, artificial nutrition, ventilation, and whether to transfer the patient to a hospital. The MOLST form must be filled out by the patient, or her  guardian or health care agent, along with a medical professional, who can be a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant.

View a sample MOLST form by clicking here.

The MOLST form and process are not meant to be used by healthy individuals, but by those who are ill and who want to prevent care that may well do more harm than good.  It also protects health care professionals and long-term care facilities from potential liability for not taking steps provide maximum assistance to individuals in their care.

Broader use of the MOLST form should prevent unnecessary, expensive, and sometimes harmful medical treatment.

Learn more about the process and the efforts to expand the use of MOLST in Massachusetts by clicking here.

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