INTRO- There is a new law being considered by the Ohio legislature that will provide another valuable tool to make sure your medical wishes are followed. That is called a Medical Orders for Life - Sustaining Treatment or MOLST.
Q- Before we talk about this new tool give us a refresher on health care powers and living wills.
A. Health care powers and living wills were adopted under Ohio law in 1991. A health care power of attorney is a written document you sign authorizing someone to make all health care decisions for you after your doctor determines that you are incapacitated and are no longer able to make decisions for yourself. The power of attorney can include refusing or withdrawing life sustaining treatment when two doctors determine that you are in a terminal condition or a permanently unconscious state. Additionally you can authorize the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration and give the power holder the right to sign a do not resuscitate order.
Q- What is a living will?
A- A living will gives you an opportunity to express your wishes about their health care if they should be in a terminal condition or permanently unconscious state. Most people sign both the health care power of attorney and the living will in tandem. There are preapproved forms for these two documents. Also hospitals will also provide these forms.
Q- What is the Medical Orders for Life - Sustaining Treatment or MOLST?
A- The MOLST does not replace health care powers of attorney or living will. If passed by the Ohio legislature this will be a form which sets forth specifically your wishes as to:
· medical interventions such as ventilation and intubation or whether you just want comfort measures only
· Hydration and nutrition
The idea behind this form is that you fill it out in advance of your need after consulting with your doctor. This gives you a chance to make an informed decision with the advice of your doctor. It is contemplated that your doctor would sign the document. Also it can be used in multiple locations and will continue in effect unless you revoke it.
Q- What is the difference between the MOLST and a health care power of attorney and living will?
A health care power and living will can only be used when your medical decision making capacity is lost. The MOLST is not conditioned on the doctors determining that you have lost medical decision making capacity. Also, it is more specific about the exact details of the life sustaining treatment you may or may not want.
CLOSE - Be on the lookout for this new health care decision making tool.