Oregon POLST Program

July 1, 2019

Oregon POLST Program News
Recent Publication
How Does the Completion of POLST Influence Emergency Department (ED) Treatment?
Dr. Kelly Vranas and colleagues recently published "The Association of Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment With Intensity of Treatment Among Patients Presenting to the Emergency Department" in the Annals of Emergency Medicine. The study included 26,128 patients who presented in the OHSU ED between April 2015 and October 2016. 1,769 (6.8%) had POLST forms: 52.1% had full treatment orders, 33.5% had limited treatment orders, and 14.4% (1% of the sample) had comfort measures only (CMO) orders. Notably, patients with orders for limited treatment or CMO had reduced odds of ICU admission. (Ann Emerg Med., 6/19,
Advance Care Planning Discussions
Challenging Medical and Legal Issues and How Advance Directives and POLST Work Together
In the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) Journal, Fay Blix and Susan Tolle, M.D., highlight challenging medical and legal issues in "POLST®: Co-Piloting, Not Hijacking, the Advance Directive." The article illustrates how the advance care planning (ACP) process clinically unfolds for a couple with two different trajectories to death. Furthermore, the article encourages greater collaboration between the medical and legal professions in the process of ACP for older adults. (NAELA Journal, 6/19,
Vital Communication Skills
The OHSU Center for Ethics in Health Care (administrative home of Oregon POLST) is making a major investment in enhancing the communication skills of health care professionals which are vital to the quality of POLST completion. With gifts and grants in support of the Program in Compassionate Communication, the Center is addressing OHSU faculty development in advanced communication skills. Medical students have shared that sometimes faculty and residents are not the best role models for giving bad news. Not all faculty have received the robust communication training the students in the new YourMD curriculum are experiencing. Katie Stowers, D.O., a palliative medicine physician and assistant professor of medicine at OHSU, will serve as the Ronald W. Naito Director in Serious Illness Education. In a Scripps national TV story, Ron Naito, M.D., shares his experience as a patient receiving a dire diagnosis and the importance of compassionate communication. (WXYZ-TV, 6/19,     
Leadership Transition
From Susan Tolle, M.D., Chair, Oregon POLST Coalition
On behalf of Oregon POLST Leadership, I wish Valerie Jimenez, Executive Director of Oregon POLST, much success as she embarks on her next leadership role in the Office of the Chief Scientific Officier at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Valerie will be formally leaving the Oregon POLST program on July 26, 2019. For the past several years, Valerie's passion and deep commitment to the mission of POLST have to lead to the continued success and innovation of the Oregon POLST program. We are deeply grateful for all that Valerie has done to advance the Oregon POLST program.

It is now our priority to find the best individual to serve as the Executive Director of Oregon's innovative statewide program. We ask for your help in sharing the position announcement. Visit, click Apply to Jobs and search IRC85715.

Susan Tolle, M.D.
Chair, Oregon POLST Coalition
Valerie M. Jimenez
Executive Director, Oregon POLST Program
3181 SW Sam Jackson Pk Rd, UHN-86
Portland, OR 97239

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