In New York, patients have the right to make many decisions about their end of life care and even appoint a representative to do so in their interests if circumstances leave them unable to make such decisions for themselves. Using what is known as a Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) form, patients can create a doctor’s order that informs physicians and emergency care givers whether to administer treatment like CPR or place the individual on ventilator or other life-saving equipments.
MOLST forms can be used in combination with a do not resuscitate (DNR) order to help give patients the most control over how their health care is delivered in an emergency situation or at the end of life where tough decisions must be made. In order for the MOLST form to be valid, the document must be signed by your physician and yourself, otherwise doctors may continue to deliver treatment during and emergency. The form will become a part of your medical file and will transfer over to whatever facility you may be treated at.
The main difference between a MOLST and DNR order is the former covers a broader range of care doctors may deliver, including intubation, administering antibiotics, and interesting feeding tubes, with DNR orders only cover administering CPR. Often times, patients using a MOLST face a life-threatening medical condition or lives in a long term care facility like a nursing home or hospice.
For most other folks should have a living will that gives a family member or other trusted individual the power to make healthcare decisions if they become incapacitated, these are also known as a health care proxy. A living will or a health care proxy is essentially a power of attorney and needs to be carefully thought out, possibly outlining scenarios where the individual would like certain types of care administered or not.
Whether you decide to create a MOLST, DNR, or health care proxy, a great deal of thought should go into your decisions as these documents cover scenarios where you will most likely be unable to make decisions on your own behalf. Sometimes, a single type of arrangement is all that is necessary while other situations you may need a combination of the three. Individuals interested in creating these types of arrangements can find more information from the New York Department of Health website or by speaking to an estate planning attorney about their situation.