Association of physician orders for life-sustaining treatment form use with end-of-life care quality metrics in patients with cancer

Sandra L. Pedraza, Stacey Culp, Mark Knestrick, Evan Falkenstine, Alvin H. Moss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose Many patients with advanced cancer receive aggressive treatment near the end of life. The Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form is an innovation that converts patient preferences into medical orders. We compared the end-of-life care of patients with advanced cancer who had completed POLST forms with that of patients who had advance directives (ADs). Methods We studied 2,159 West Virginians with ADs and/or POLST forms in the West Virginia e-Directive Registry who died as a result of cancer between January 2011 and February 2016. Data from the Vital Registration Office (date, site, and cause of death) were merged with those from the registry (form type, completion date, and hospice admission). The primary outcome variables were out-of-hospital death (OHD) and hospice admission. Results The percentage of patients with OHD was 85.7% for patients with POLST forms compared with 72.0% for those with ADs (P, .001). The odds of OHD for patients with POLST forms were 2.33 times those of patients with ADs. The percentage of patients admitted to hospice was 49.9% for those with POLST forms compared with 27.0% for those with ADs (P, .001). The odds of being admitted to hospice for patients with POLST forms were 2.69 times those of patients with ADs. Conclusion Advance care planning with completion of POLST forms compared with ADs in patients with advanced cancer was associated with two quality end-of-life care metrics: OHD and hospice admission. Our study suggests that goals-of-care discussions including POLST form completion may improve end-of-life care for patients with advanced cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e881-e888
JournalJournal of oncology practice
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)
  • Health Policy

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