The Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) Paradigm originated in Oregon in 1991 out of concern from medical ethicists that patient end-of-life care preferences were not consistently honored. The success of this program sparked a national movement and, one by one, other states began to tailor the Paradigm to fit their unique legal, medical, and cultural contexts. The initial POLST Paradigm programs were founded in New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. In 2004, the National POLST Paradigm Initiative Task Force convened to foster the expansion of POLST programs across the country, and eventually this expansive effort reached Georgia.
The POLST form was initially used in Georgia in 2007 in the WellStar Health System, and its use began to grow independently in isolated hospitals throughout the state. In an effort to promote the form statewide, the WellStar Health System collaborated with Georgia Health Decisions to work toward legislative support of the form. In 2012 the Georgia Department of Public Health developed and made available the legally recognized POLST form to be used in Georgia, and the Georgia POLST Collaborative was formed to promote POLST usage. In 2015 the Georgia legislature passed SB109 that legislated the POLST forms use, and security of those who used the form. Georgia became the 16th state to have a POLST program endorsed by the National POLST Paradigm. In 2016 small clarifications were made to the document by DPH on April 27, 2016, and this is the form used today. In addition, the Collaborative developed its first strategic plan.
In 2017, the Georgia POLST Collaborative became incorporated in the state of Georgia and was approved as an individual 501(c)(3) non-profit. Currently, the Georgia POLST Collaborative consists of over 40 statewide organizations invested in improving end-of-life care for Georgians.