You may have heard about a new kind of health care directive in New Mexico, called a Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment, or 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 order (DNR), 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. The most form may also provide other information about your end-of-life health care, as explained just below.
How to Make a MOST Form
Currently, New Mexico’s MOST form is available only at some hospitals in the Albuquerque area, but there are plans to make the form available statewide. A health care professional can help you create a MOST form if you enter a participating medical facility or health care setting. To be legally valid, a MOST form must be signed by a health care professional, such as doctor or a nurse practitioner.
In New Mexico, a MOST form is usually printed on brightly colored paper so it will easily stand out in your medical records. The form travels with you if you move from one health care setting to another. You can change it or cancel it 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 provides 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 health care directives in New Mexico, see New Mexico Living Wills and Advance Health Care Directives: What You Need to Know.
For More Information
To learn more about MOST forms (called POLST forms in many states) visit www.polst.org or talk to your health care provider.
For general information about how to document your health care wishes, see the Living Wills & Medical Powers of Attorney section of Nolo.com.