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By David Inabinett, Attorney at Law

We often talk about the importance of having Advance Directives as part of your estate plan. These documents help you maintain control over your care even if you are not in a position to make a decision for yourself. A MOST form (Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment) is a formal medical order that goes beyond the standard healthcare directives and allows the patient to define exactly how extensive treatment should be.

The MOST form must be completed with your doctor. He or she will review each statement and ensure you understand the implications of your choices. Section A of the document is a standard Do Not Resuscitate order (DNR) that indicates whether you want CPR performed should your heart stop. Sections B, C and D cover various medical interventions, from administration of antibiotics to whether you wish to be put on a ventilator.

After you complete the form with your doctor, you will both sign it and it will become part of your medical records. You and the doctor must review the form every year and re-sign to indicate your decisions are still the same. If you change your mind, the old form will be marked VOID and a new form completed. Healthcare providers at the doctor’s office, hospital, or long-term care facility will follow the MOST instructions and call your doctor for follow up care. (Note: EMTs in North Carolina and many other states are required to make every effort to save your life; they are not able to honor MOST or DNR agreements. Depending on your situation, you may want to keep a copy of the completed MOST form in a clearly marked envelope where it will be seen should you need to be taken to the hospital.)

As we age, we often decide that quality of life outweighs extra time. The MOST agreement helps keep control of end of life care in your hands. We recommend you discuss this form with your physician.

The estate planning attorneys at Brinkley Walser Stoner are here to help with your estate planning and elder law needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.