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POST Forms - Tennessee
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What is the POST form?
Physician Order for Scope of Treatment

Communicates patients’ preferences for end-of-life treatment across care settings.

Signed by both patient and physician, Tennessee’s POST form constitutes actionable, enforceable medical orders that move with the patient. If a patient is moved, for example, from home or a skilled nursing facility to a hospital, the POST moves with the patient to ensure that all of the health-care providers involved - including any Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) who provide transport - will be aware of specific health care wishes, even if the patient is no longer able to communicate.

Is POST necessary if I already have an advance directive?

It is recommended that the very ill have both forms because it improves communication between patients and their health care providers, and helps to ensure that the patient’s wishes are honored. POST complements but does not replace an advance directive.  An advance directive is not always available when needed, and does not carry the weight of a physician’s orders.

What if completion of a POST form is recommended
but the patient is incapacitated? 

If the patient previously completed an advance directive and authorized a health care representative to make decisions on his or her behalf, then a POST form can be completed by that representative and the patient’s physician.  If a representative was not previously authorized, then Tennessee law allows for the appointment of a surrogate to work with health care providers to complete a POST form. In addition to the patient or representative’s signature, the form must be signed by the patient’s physician. Other members of the patient’s care team such as nurses, social workers or chaplains may also be involved to help ensure that the POST reflects the best possible understanding of what the patient would want, taking into consideration any physical, psychological and spiritual issues.

Can instructions in a POST form be changed?

Completion of a POST form is always optional and form contents can be always be modified or revoked if patient preferences change for any reason.