You may have heard about a new kind of health care directive in Alaska, called a Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment (MOST) form. Here, we discuss what a MOST form is and when you might need one.
What Is a MOST Form?
A MOST form is a doctor’s order that helps you keep control over medical care at the end of life. Like a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order, the form tells emergency medical personnel and other health care providers whether or not to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the event of a medical emergency. A MOST form may be used in addition to -- or instead of -- a DNR order. The MOST form may also provide other information about your wishes for end-of-life health care.
How to Make a MOST Form
If you enter a participating medical facility or health care setting, a health care provider can help you create a MOST form. To be valid, a MOST form must be signed by a doctor, nurse practitioner, or other approved medical professional. Currently, MOST forms are available in Alaska Pioneer Homes (state run assisted living homes); they may soon be available in major hospitals as well.
You can change or cancel a MOST form at any time.
How Does a MOST Form Differ From Other Health Care Directives?
A MOST form differs from a DNR order in one important way: A MOST form also includes directions about life-sustaining measures in addition to CPR, such as intubation, antibiotic use, and feeding tubes. The MOST form helps medical providers understand your wishes at a glance, but it is not a substitute for a properly prepared Advance Health Care Directive.
An Advance Directive can provide more information than a MOST form, including details about your health care agent, more complete health care wishes, and your preference for organ donation. Therefore, if you have a MOST form, you do not need a DNR order, but you should still complete an Advance Directive to provide a full set of wishes about your care.
For details about making an Advance Directive, see Alaska Living Wills and Advance Health Care Directives: What You Need to Know.