End of Life
End-of- life is a significant issue for patients, families and health care teams. The Institute of Medicine and the book ‘Being Mortal’ have increased the awareness of the public and the health care profession. The key to the issue is the ability of a patient to express their wishes for how they chose to live out their life and the ability of the health care team to honor those wishes.
Those wishes are documented in an ‘Advance Directive’ and, when appropriate, in a ‘Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment’ (POLST). The POLST is a medical order that aims to enable seriously
ill patients to designate the treatments they desire and to ensure that those preferences are honored by medical professionals.
The Georgia POLST Collaborative is a part of the National POLST Paradigm. The Georgia POLST
Collaborative aims to educate patients, families and health care professionals throughout the state about end-of- life planning, advance directives, and the Georgia POLST.
Dr. Richard Cohen recently retired as the medical director of the WellStar Health System’s Ethics Department. He founded Wellstar’s Health System Ethics and Advance Care Planning and End-of- Life programs. Dr. Cohen is the chairman of the Board of Georgia Health Decisions, the chairman of the Georgia POLST Collaborative, and a member of the Executive Committee of the National POLST Paradigm Taskforce.
He practiced total joint restoration in Atlanta for 40 years. Dr. Cohen received he medical degree from the Jefferson University Medical School in Pennsylvania.