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Basic Informaton about MOLST

MOLST Vision

Persons with advanced illness will have their decisions regarding life-sustaining treatments known, communicated and honored across all health care settings in Massachusetts.

MOLST Mission

To facilitate and promote the appropriate use of the MOLST process and form as the standard way to document, communicate and honor the life-sustaining treatment preferences of patients with advanced illness in all Massachusetts health care settings.


MOLST Overview  

MOLST is a medical order form (similar to a prescription) that relays instructions between health professionals about a patient's care. MOLST is based on an individual's right to accept or refuse medical treatment, including treatments that might extend life. 

MOLST is not for everyone.  In Massachusetts, patients with a serious advanced illness at any age may discuss filling out a MOLST form with their clinician.  The patient's decision to use the MOLST form must be voluntary.

MOLST is very different from a  health care proxy form. All adults aged 18 and older are recommended to fill out a health care proxy form to name the person who can make medical decisions for them in the future event of an unexpected illness or accident.  Anyone with a MOLST form is also recommended to fill out a health care proxy form.

The process before filling out MOLST requires discussions between the signing clinician (physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant), the patient, and family members/trusted advisors about:

  • The patient's current medical condition
  • What could happen next
  • The patient's values and goals for care and
  • Possible risks and benefits of treatments that may be offered.  

After these discussions, the MOLST form may be filled out and signed by the clinician to instruct other health professionals about the use of life-sustaining treatments for the patient, based on the patient's own decisions.  The patient signs the MOLST form as well.

The signed MOLST form stays with the patient and is to be honored by health professionals in any clinical care situation.  Learn more about MOLST by clicking on the links below:

Frequently Asked Questions about MOLST

MOLST in Massachusetts video (13 minutes)