This paper will have three parts addressing two important pieces of legislation related to the right of individuals to make health care decisions for themselves.

Part I

The Advance Health Care Directive 

Locate a copy of an advanced directive (AD) that complies with the laws of the state in which you work. The organization in which you work should have a copy of an advance directive that is given to patients. If not, download your state’s Advance Directives here http://www.caringinfo.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3289. (Links to an external site.)

Complete the advance directive for yourself.  Do not turn in your AD with your paper. The AD is for your personal use.

In your paper, Part I:

  1. Identify where you obtained the AD and explain its compliance with state law.
  2. Conduct research (1-2 sources) to learn more about the AD in your state and explain how it works.   
  3. Discuss how easy or difficult it was to complete the AD. Your comments should be specific and both objective and subjective. For example, when you state your personal feelings, you must relate them to the literature (textbook and research) that discusses this process and the difficulties that many people face when completing an advance directive.

(Cite/ reference any sources you use to explore these questions, including your texts.)

Part II

Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) Form

  1. What is a Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form (Links to an external site.)?
  2. When should this form be completed?
  3. Who can complete the form?
  4. Who needs to sign the form to make it a legal document?

(Cite/reference any sources you use to explore these questions, including your texts.)

Part III

Tie the two first sections together by writing a summary and conclusion.

This section should address:

1. the differences between an Advance Health Care Directive and the POLST,

2. the RN’s important role in assuring the patient’s right to autonomy in choosing the healthcare interventions the patient does or does not want.

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