Justin Jeppesen: Do you have a POST as part of your Estate Plan?

In estate planning, the decisions we make about our health care directives in the event of illness or injury protect our wishes even if we are unable to communicate them. In most cases, an individual will appoint someone, a loved friend or family member, to ensure that these wishes are carried out to your specifications if you are unable to act on your own.

Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment

In the state of Idaho, a recently new option for health care directives has surfaced: POST.

The form was authorized in Idaho on July 1, 2007 by Governor Butch Otter. It is a prepared document signed by an individual and a health care professional (such as a doctor (MD), Physician Assistants (PA), and Advanced Practice Professional Nurses (APPN)) that dictates the types of medical treatment an individual wishes to receive at the end of their life.

The POST is included in an individual’s medical records, and one may also keep a copy at home in the event of emergency.

POST includes directives such as the decision to attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the decision to receive antibiotics, IV fluids or artificial nutrition, as well as the choice to use a ventilator to help with breathing. In the event of an emergency situation, health care professionals are trained to do everything in their power to keep a patient alive and healthy. In some situations, the type of care administered may not be what the patient wants, but if the patient is unable to communicate, health care professionals do their best to sustain life.

POST can alert a health care professional of a patient’s wishes even if the patient is unable to do so themselves.

POST was originally designed for seriously ill patients wishing to have more control over their end of life care, regardless of an individual’s age. It is NOT a replacement for the Advance Health Care Directive and does not intend to be.

For example, POST does not designate a legal health care power of attorney, whereas an Advance Health Care Directive does. The POST is meant to supplement the Health Care Directive in order to provide the care that an individual has truly planned for. If an individual has both a POST and an Advance Health Care Directive and Health Care Power of Attorney in place, the most current document will be honored.

To be certain that you receive the type of care you want, you must ensure the two documents do not have conflicting directions.

Most of the time, we do not prepare for the unthinkable--because it is just that: unthinkable. When the unimaginable occurs, to protect your own wishes and the futures of your loved ones, you must be prepared. This takes careful planning, but it is manageable and even enjoyable with the right help. It is our goal to ensure your needs, and the needs of your family, are protected.

Please let us know if you have any questions about how to incorporate your POST into your estate plan.


*** Click on this Link for Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s Guide to a POST: http://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/Portals/0/Medical/EMS/POST-DNR_EMS_Guideline_11-2012.pdf