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Understanding MOLST Forms: A Guide to Advance Care Planning

Understanding MOLST Forms: A Guide to Advance Care Planning. A graphic of someone signing a medical form.

End-of-life care decisions can be challenging and emotional for individuals and their loved ones. Nevertheless, planning ahead for your future can give you peace of mind and ensure your wishes are honored. Advance care planning can be made more accessible with the MOLST form.

What is a MOLST form?

MOLST stands for Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment. It is a legal document that translates a person's preferences for life-sustaining medical treatments into actionable medical orders. It is designed for individuals with serious advanced illnesses or frailty who may be nearing the end of their lives. The form is completed by a healthcare professional and is recognized and honored across a variety of healthcare settings.

Benefits of filling out a MOLST form:

Honoring personal preferences:

MOLST forms allow individuals to express their preferences regarding life-sustaining treatments, such as resuscitation, hospitalization, intubation, and more. This ensures their medical care aligns with their personal wishes allowing individuals to exert their autonomy.

Reducing unnecessary interventions:

The MOLST form helps prevent unwanted or unnecessary medical interventions. This ensures that healthcare providers will not administer treatments that the patient does not want. This can improve quality of life by reducing invasive and difficult procedures that may not align with the person's wishes.

Easing communication with healthcare providers:

The MOLST form facilitates communication between individuals, their families, and healthcare providers. The document clearly outlines the individual's treatment preferences, so healthcare professionals can provide appropriate care according to those preferences. This helps to avoid misunderstandings or conflicts between providers and patients in critical situations.

Ensuring consistency of care:

The signed MOLST form travels with the individual throughout different healthcare settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and home care. This promotes continuity of care and ensures that the person's treatment preferences are known and honored, regardless of the care setting, providing consistent and unified medical decision-making.

Providing peace of mind for individuals and families:

Having a MOLST form can alleviate anxiety and uncertainty for both individuals and their families. It can provide a sense of control and reassurance that one's preferences for end-of-life care will be respected. It also relieves families of the burden of making difficult decisions during crises.

Having advance care plans in place ensures that individuals' end-of-life wishes are respected. Using the MOLST form, these wishes can be translated into actionable medical orders. Having a completed MOLST form facilitates effective communication between individuals, their families, and healthcare providers, and provides peace of mind that medical treatment preferences will be followed. Talk to your healthcare professional about the MOLST form to ensure that your wishes for end-of-life care are documented.

You can print a copy of a fillable MOLST form here.


More resources:

How to complete a MOLST form

MOLST stands for Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment.

Resuscitation Preferences

Future Hospitalization/Transfer

Feeding Tubes

Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST


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