October 11, 2017

CT launches end-of-life care program

The state Department of Public Health (DPH) has implemented a statewide program that gives patients the ability to choose medical treatments for end-of-life care.

The program, called Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (MOLST), took effect statewide Oct. 1 after a successful three-year pilot program in select settings.

With MOLST, patients can learn the benefits and drawbacks of all treatment options and make their wishes for end-of-life care known.

It ensures patient choices about life-sustaining interventions and end-of-life care options are documented as medical orders that are transferable across all healthcare settings, said DPH Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino. The MOLST document applies equally to patients who choose to continue treatment and who choose to decline any or all life-sustaining interventions.

MOLST differs from an advanced healthcare directive like a living will because it is an actionable medical order that remains with the patient and directs the patient's medical care. Often, a living will is not readily available or questions exist about qualifying conditions of a patient to trigger documented wishes, which can lead to medical interventions that run counter to the patient's wishes, DPH said.

The MOLST program is available to licensed Connecticut physicians, APRNs and physician assistants who have completed the MOLST training and their eligible patients.

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