Close up EKG monitor in icu roomMany of us have signed a health care proxy form — a legal document in which we appoint someone to make medical decisions for us if we become incapacitated.

But in Massachusetts, and in many other states, there is another form we may want to sign. It is called a MOLST (Medical Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment).


Similar to a prescription, it contains instructions from a doctor to other health care professionals such as emergency responders and nurses about what life-sustaining treatments to try — or not try — on a patient, based on that patient’s wishes.

These treatments might include such things as CPR.  Health professionals are required to try such treatments unless there is a MOLST order in place.

If the person is mentally incapacitated, the MOLST order can be signed by the person’s health care agent, named in the proxy.

Even if the person has a DNR or “do not resuscitate” order in place, a MOLST order may be signed. It can cover resuscitation and other forms of life-sustaining treatments.

If you have signed a MOLST and want to change your mind, you can still ask for treatment and/or have the order voided.

The order should be kept in a place where it can easily be found such as on the refrigerator and may want to carry a copy when leaving the house.

More information on MOLST can be found here:

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