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Legal Documents in the Healthcare Industry

Advance Directive Form

An Advance Directive (AD) is a document containing the wishes of a patient in the event they are terminally ill and completely out of their consciousness. There are different Advanced Directive forms depending on the situation that may lead to that event. A good example of an advanced directive is the living will. This study used a living will that complies with the state laws and statutes of Florida. The AD was a practical implementation of the human rights act in the constitution, which allows every person to have the right to informed consent. However, this document has privacy privileges conforming to the rights of privacy.

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The Floridian Advanced Directive encompasses legal documents that protect one’s right to retaliate against treatment that they are not comfortable with in the event they are unconscious. This derivative instrument comprises three parts that require to be filled by the patient. The first part is the Florida Designation of Death of Healthcare Surrogate, which comprises decisions about life-prolonging procedures. The second part is the Florida Living Will, which allows a patient to state their wishes while undergoing health care in their vegetative state or have a terminal condition (Hilgeman et al., 2018). The third part contains the patient’s signature and witnessing provisions so that the document becomes legal and official.

Completing an Advanced Directive is difficult, especially for people who do not know that they have the option of filling out the whole form. Therefore, they cannot take full advantage of its derivatives. This is common when the patient is not enlightened on the importance of an AD (Hilgeman et al., 2018). There is always a mixed reaction among family members where they may differ from the wishes of the involved patient stagnating the filling process of the form. This is common to spouses whereby they share a common interest in terms of children and financial streams.

Physical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) Form

Physical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form is a legal document acting as an end-of-life planning tool started when one’s physician expects that they will live not over one year. A POLST document contains instructions related to medical instructions for a precise medical condition (Collier et al., 2018). These instructions include the medical interventions a patient is comfortable with in the event, they have a pulse or they are breathing. In the medical intervention section, there are options. One of these options is the full treatment which aims at prolonging life by all medically effective means (Periyakoil et al., 2018). Limited medical mediations aim at treating health disorders but evade worrying processes. Methods of comfort in the incident of a terminal illness are maximizing comfort and avoiding suffering.

The document comprises a patient’s identification details such as age and name. The document entails if one would accept a Cardiopulmonary Resurrection (CPR) in the event one is unresponsive, pulseless, and not breathing. These options include attempt resuscitation by CPR and no attempt resuscitation. POLST contains the mode of Artificially Administered Nutrition if offering a person food by mouth is workable (Collier et al., 2018). These options are longstanding synthetic nourishment by tube; a distinct trial time of artificial sustenance by tube and no synthetic nutrition by the pipe. The document contains details entailing the patient’s hospice or palliative care considering their referral (Periyakoil et al., 2018). This section contains the patient’s current enrollment in Hospice care and Palliative care.

A doctor is assigned to a patient after a conscious and thorough conversation with the patient on their present and future preferred treatment methods and completes A POLST form. The doctor should have undergone training on how a POLST document is implemented (Moss et al., 2017). When the patient becomes incapacitated to decide, someone else should be involved in the process of both completing and signing the forms (Moss et al., 2017). This person should qualify as being legally related to the patient. To make the document official, it is the right of the doctor to sign or decline to sign the PLOST.

Comparison between POLST and Advanced Directive

Both POLST forms and advanced directive forms have similar objectivity which facilitates the communication of patients’ desires and when to appropriately implement them. These two forms differ where for a POLST to be official, the direct Doctor assigned should sign it to the patient (Collier et al., 2018). However, an advanced directive document is effective with the signatory of the patient. An advanced directive guides health care decisions, especially at the point nearing death where one appoints someone who would make medical decisions while unconscious. A POLST contains limited critical medical decisions to serve as a transition tool and continuous assurance of care.

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Residential nurses have a crucial role in assuring patients’ right to autonomy in selecting the healthcare of their preference. Here, health care practitioners have no right to influence the patient’s decisions but provide them with factual details on what to expect and do with the forms and guide them in filling the forms. Nurses should also protect the patient from external influences, such as agencies to which the patient gets medically covered (Hilgeman et al., 2018). Family members may also be a significant challenge to a patient’s autonomy. Here, the nurse involved should protect the patient from influences that put their wishes in jeopardy.


Collier, J., Kelsberg, G., & Safranek, S. (2018). Clinical inquiries: How well do POLST forms assure that patients get the end-of-life care they requested?. The Journal of Family Practice, 67(4), 249–251. Web.

Hilgeman, M. M., Uphold, C. R., Collins, A. N., Davis, L. L., Olsen, D. P., Burgio, K. L., Gordon, C. A, Coleman, T. N., DeCoster, J, Gay, W., & Allen, R. S. (2018). Enabling advance directive completion: Feasibility of a new nurse-supported advance care planning intervention. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 44(7), 31-42. Web.

Moss, A. H., Zive, D. M., Falkenstine, E. C., & Dunithan, C. (2017). The quality of POLST completion to guide treatment: A 2-state study. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 18(9), 810-834. Web.

Periyakoil, V. S., Neri, E., & Kraemer, H. (2017). A randomized controlled trial comparing the letter project advance directive to traditional advance directive. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 20(9), 954-965. Web.

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