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Ohio to Consider Replacing DNR Laws

Across the country, a new type of patient-centered end-of-life legal document, known as MOLST (medical orders for life-sustaining treatment) is gaining traction. Like “do not resuscitate” (DNR) orders and advanced directives, MOLST forms are designed to clarify patients’ wishes when they are unable to communicate them. However, unlike current end-of-life documents, MOLSTs are completed and signed by a physician in consultation with the patient and are designed to be less vague and more relevant to a variety of possible medical scenarios.

Ohio may soon join many other states that have authorized MOLSTs or are in the process of adopting them. Legislation has not yet been introduced in the Ohio General Assembly, but proposals to replace the current DNR system with MOLST are in the works.

Among supporters of MOLST legislation, important goals of any bill include a focus on helping patients better understand their options with respect to end-of-life care; assurance that MOLST forms are transferrable across various settings of care; and protection from civil and criminal liability for healthcare workers who follow end-of-life medical orders specified in a patient’s MOLST form.

As the discussions over possible legislation continue to take shape, Ohio ACEP will keep our members abreast of any developments.

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