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MOLST Overview for Patients & Families


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 individuals' right to accept or refuse medical treatment, including treatment that might extend life. 

MOLST is not for everyone.  In Massachusetts, patients of any age with a serious advanced illness may discuss filling out a MOLST form with their clinician.  Patients' decisions to use the MOLST form must be voluntary.

MOLST is very different from a  health care proxy formAll 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.  

The process before using 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
  • Risks and benefits of possible treatments.  

After these discussions, the MOLST form may be filled out and signed by the clinician and patient to communicate orders about the use of life-sustaining treatments for the patient, based on the patient's own decisions. 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: