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Photo: Submitted photo, License: N/A, Created: 2011:06:23 07:25:17

Members of the POLST Task Force of Northeast Pa. meet to plan their upcoming facilitator training session. Seen left to right, seated, are Atty. Brenda Colbert; Dr. Robert Yanoshak; Dr. Nicholas Giordano; Joan Pauley; and Courtney Konklin. Standing, left to right, are Claire Festa; Joyce Fiorucci; Ann Marie Trotta; David Hage; Dr. Brenda Hage; and Dorothy Taticchi.

The POLST Task Force for Northeast Pa. will host its second facilitator training session
on Thursday, Sept. 15 in the Luzerne County Medical Society building on South
Franklin Street in Wilkes-Barre.

The training session will feature a lecture and presentation by Nicholas D. Giordano,
M.D., Robert N. Yanoshak, D.O., and Tamara F. Persing, BSN, along with role-playing by
participants and a question and answer period. The session will run from 2 p.m. to
9 p.m. and will include a light buffet supper.

According to Dr. Giordano, chairman of the task force, the objective of facilitator
training is to address the need for a dialogue about end-of-life issues between individuals and their health-care providers.

“All individuals should do advance care planning and grant a health-care power of
attorney to a relative or friend,” he explained. “In addition, the newly-approved POLST
form is vital to conveying a patient’s wishes about life-sustaining treatments.”

POLST is an acronym for Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment and was
approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health as a standard medical form in
February, 2010. It is used by hospitals, nursing homes, health-care facilities and
emergency medical services across the commonwealth.

The POLST form is signed by the patient (or the patient’s legal representative) and the
patient’s doctor, physician’s assistant or certified nurse practitioner. The POLST form
differs from an advance directive in that it takes effect immediately upon signing and
can be modified easily by the proper completion of a subsequent POLST form. Since
it carries the weight of a doctor’s order, it eliminates possible ambiguity about exactly
what treatment should be used or withheld in a given situation.

The POLST Task Force for Northeast Pa. was formed in 2009 with the objective of
facilitating the understanding, acceptance and use of the POLST paradigm program
in the region. Task force members include physicians, nurses, clergy, social service
representatives, and health-care facility administrators.

The training session is open to the public but is geared toward health care professionals and others who deal with end-of -life issues such as members of the clergy, attorneys, and nursing home administrators.

The $75 registration fee includes the training session, light supper and completion of the pre-requisite online course. Six continuing medical education units are available for
participating physicians; other participants should contact their licensing agencies for
information about professional continuing education units.

Interested participants may register by contacting Amy Minnich, BSN, at (570) 214-9790 or the Luzerne County Medical Society at (570) 823-0917. The deadline for registration is
Sept. 1.