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

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 (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?
  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.


Use current APA format.

The paper should be between 5 pages in length excluding the title and reference page(s).

Cite and reference the course text and at least two (2) additional appropriate professional sources.


Expert Solution Preview

The right for individuals to make their own decisions about their health care is an important aspect of medical practice. There are two pieces of legislation that are crucial in safeguarding this right- the Advance Health Care Directive (AD) and the Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form. In this paper, we will explore the requirements for an AD in Florida, their compliance with state law, the ease of completion, the details of the POLST form, and the role of RNs in ensuring patient autonomy.

Part I: Advance Health Care Directive
The AD is a legal document that specifies the wishes of an individual for medical care and appoints a trusted agent to make decisions if the individual is unable to do so. I obtained a copy of Florida’s AD from the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. Florida law requires that ADs must be in writing, signed by the individual, and witnessed by two adults who are not family members or the appointed agent.

Research shows that ADs are an effective tool for ensuring patient autonomy and reducing conflict in end-of-life care. However, many people find filling out an AD to be a difficult and emotional process. It requires having conversations about death and making tough decisions. According to a study by Silveira et al., many people are unaware of ADs and the need for end-of-life planning.

Part II: Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) Form
The POLST form is a medical order that outlines an individual’s wishes for specific medical interventions in emergencies. Unlike ADs, which are for long-term planning, POLST forms are for use in emergency situations. The form is signed by a medical professional and the patient or the patient’s surrogate. A POLST form is generally more specific and legally binding than an AD.

The POLST form should be completed for people with serious illnesses or frailty that may require immediate medical treatment. It is intended to be used only in emergencies and to help providers and medical professionals determine the course of treatment. The form can be updated as needed, but a new one should be completed if the individual’s medical status changes.

Part III: Summary and Conclusion
In summary, the AD and the POLST form serve different purposes but are instrumental in ensuring patient autonomy in medical decision-making. An AD is for long-term planning and the appointment of a surrogate, while the POLST form is for immediate medical intervention. Both documents serve as guides to healthcare providers about a patient’s medical wishes, and healthcare professionals must ensure that they follow the directives given in these documents.

RN’s, in particular, play an important role in ensuring patient autonomy. They must be knowledgeable about the requirements and uses of ADs and the POLST form and communicate effectively with both patients and healthcare providers. RN’s should encourage patients to engage in end-of-life planning and ensure that the documents are accurate, up-to-date, and accessible.

In conclusion, the right of individuals to make decisions about their health care is crucial, and the AD and POLST form are essential tools in ensuring that patients’ wishes are respected. The RN’s advocacy for patient autonomy is crucial in safeguarding this right.


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