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What is IPOST?

The Iowa Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment, known as IPOST, is a double-sided, one-page document that allows a person to communicate their preferences for key life-sustaining treatments including: resuscitation, general scope of treatment, artificial nutrition and more. IPOST is appropriate for an individual who is frail elderly, or who has a chronic, critical medical condition or terminal illness.

In the last stages of illness, health decisions can be complicated and difficult for the patient, their families, and even the treating health providers. IPOST helps health providers guide and support the patient and their families during this sensitive time. A completed IPOST creates a clear declaration of the patient’s healthcare treatment choices and assures that the patient’s wishes are fulfilled at the prescribed time.

IPOST Mission and Vision

Mission: To promote community care coordination and advanced care planning

Vision: Seamless communication and execution of individual patient care choices across the healthcare continuum


The IPOST pilot project began in Cedar Rapids in late 2008 as a result of legislative language included in House File 2165. In 2010, the project was extended with a rural pilot authorized in Jones County.

The model created an Iowa version of the national POLST (Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) movement. The local IPOST projects were legislatively required to report to a statewide advisory council charged with making recommendations to the State Legislature. The State Advisory Council had 16 members representing various areas within the health care field.

On July 1, 2012, Iowa Code Chapter 144D - Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment - was signed into law.