Misinterpretation of Documents for End-of-Life Care Choices and Impact on Patient Safety

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On March 10th, 2015, at 2-3pm ET, we will be hosting a webinar on the topic of “How Living Wills, DNR, and POLST Impact Patient Safety & the Donation Process”. To register for this webinar, visit:

The speaker, Ferdinando L. Mirarchi, DO, FAAEM, FACEP, of this webinar will have two studies published in the March Journal of Patient Safety on this subject matter.

The first study explores the discrepancies in interpretation of the POLST orders with regards to Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders with full or limited treatment and when the POLST specified DNR and comfort measures. The conclusion of the finding highlighted significant confusion among members of the Pennsylvania chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians regarding the use of POLST in critically ill patients.

Reference for this study:
Mirarchi FL, Doshi AA, Zerkle SW, Cooney TE. TRIAD VI: How Well Do Emergency Physicians Understand Physicians Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST Forms? Journal of Patient Safety. 11(1): 1-8.

The second study addresses the discrepancies between patient intended choice and interpretation of the POLST form by Pennsylvania prehospital care providers (paramedics and emergency medical technicians). The conclusion of the study identified a need for additional research, education, safeguards to facilitate patient choice and protect safety in the pre-hospital setting.

Reference for this study:
Mirarchi FL, Cammarata C, Zerkle SW, Cooney TE, Chenault J, Basnak D. TRIAD VII: Do Prehospital Providers Understand Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment Documents? Journal of Patient Safety. 11(1): 9-17.





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