Delaware's Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) Form

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You may have heard about a new kind of health care directive, called a Delaware Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment (DMOST) form. This form, currently under development in Delaware, will help critically ill patients document their end-of-life health care wishes. It will replace a similar form that Delaware used in the past, called a Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment (MOLST) form.

What Is a DMOST Form?

A DMOST 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 will tell emergency medical personnel and other health care providers whether or not to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the event of a medical emergency.

The DMOST form will also provide directions about your other wishes for end-of-life health care, such as intubation, antibiotic use, and feeding tubes. The DMOST form will be designed to help medical providers understand your wishes at a glance, but it will not be a substitute for a properly prepared advance health care directive.

An advance directive provides more information than the DMOST form will, including details about your health care agent, more complete health care wishes, and your preference for organ donation. Therefore, even if you get a DMOST form in the future, you should still complete an advance health care directive to provide a full set of wishes about your care.

What Happened to the Delaware MOLST Form?

As mentioned above, medical professionals in Delaware used to be able to use a document called a MOLST form to keep track of a patient's preferences for health care at the end of life. However, in December 2013, the Delaware Division of Public Health requested that health care providers stop using the MOLST, because it believed the law authorizing the MOLST form did not support the ways in which it was being used. (See the announcement, DPH Requests Discontinuance of Its MOLST Form.)

Currently, there is a coalition of Delaware health care providers and activists working to replace the MOLST form with the DMOST. For updates, and to read the latest version of the proposed DMOST law, visit the website of the DMOST Coalition.

What If I Made a Delaware MOLST Form?

If you've already made a MOLST form in Delaware, it may not be honored. The Delaware Division of Public Health recommends that you make an advance directive to ensure that your treatment wishes are properly documented.

For More Information

For more information about making an advance directive, see Delaware Living Wills and Advance Health Care Directives: What You Need to Know.

For general information about how to document your health care wishes, see the Living Wills & Medical Power of Attorney section of Nolo.com.

by: , J.D.

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