Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (“MOLST”)

A collaborative initiative of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs and Commonwealth Medicine at UMass Medical School

What is MOLST?[1]                            

The MOLST vision is that persons with advanced illness will have their decisions regarding life-sustaining treatments, known, communicated, and honored across all health care settings in Massachusetts.

MOLST is a standardized process and form that a clinician can sign to convert patients’ preferences about life-sustaining treatments into medical orders to be honored across health care settings and in patients’ homes.  MOLST is becoming the standard way to document, communicate and honor the life-sustaining treatment preferences of patients with advanced illness in Massachusetts.

Using MOLST is a voluntary decision for patients with advanced illness under a clinician’s care.

MOLST Expands Throughout Massachusetts

Statewide expansion of MOLST began on April 1, 2012. The goal is statewide expansion by early 2014.[2]

The MOLST team is working to:

  • Promote and support the implementation of MOLST policy and procedures in Massachusetts health care settings.
  • Build the capacity of health care professionals to introduce and utilize MOLST effectively with suitable patients in their care.
  • Inform the public and health care and other professionals and stakeholder groups about the role of MOLST in advance care planning.

The MOLST web site ( includes a wealth of web-based materials. MOLST information for legal professionals is easily accessed from the home page along with information for clinical care institutions, for health professionals, and for patients and families.

The MOLST web site includes a MOLST Implementation Tool Kit, registration for MOLST-related conference calls and webinars, audio-recorded MOLST training presentations, and FAQs, all suitable for clinicians and clinical care institutions. There are also instructions for downloading the MOLST form.

Materials suitable for community outreach and engagement are also available, including FAQs, brochures and a 13-minute MOLST video featuring patients, families, health providers and clergy. A DVD of the MOLST video can be requested through the MOLST office at

Finally, please remember that MOLST does not change or eliminate the role of an appointed health care agent. Please continue to encourage all adults ages 18 or older to sign a health care proxy form to appoint their health care agent.

[1]Please see for a full description of MOLST.

[2] See 2010 report of The Massachusetts Expert Panel on End of Life Care, Patient-Centered Care and Human Mortality (