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An advanced care plan enables patients to ensure that their medical treatment choices are honored if they are in an emergency scenario or unable to convey their wishes due to incapacitation. DNR orders are part of advance care planning, which outlines the medical care you want to receive if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.
In this article, we will discuss in detail how to get a do not resuscitate order and other important details regarding the process.
What Is a Do-Not-Resuscitate Order?
A Do-not-resuscitate order, or DNR order, is a legally-binding doctor’s order. If a patient’s breathing or heart stops beating, it advises health care providers on whether or not to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
DNR orders are more common in patients who have a low likelihood of surviving resuscitation.CPR is regulated by DNR. Other treatments, such as pain medication, or nutrition, are not covered. Only after consulting with the patient, proxy, or patient’s family does the doctor draft the order.
Do-not-resuscitate orders are frequently seen as an elegant approach for chronically ill people to leave the world on their terms. Most often, a DNR is discussed with patients and their families upon arrival at a hospital, nursing home, or hospice care.
What Is Resuscitation?
CPR is a treatment that is performed on a patient whose breathing or blood flow has stopped. It could include:
- Simple exercises like mouth-to-mouth breathing and chest pressing
- Restarting the heart with an electric shock
- Usage of breathing tubes to open airway
How To Set up a DNR
If a patient decides to pursue a DNR or their authorized health care proxy does, it is a wise idea to meet with the patient’s doctor to explain all aspects of accepting or rejecting DNR orders.
When a patient receives a DNR, it is recorded in their medical record. A DNR only impacts whether CPR will be given to the patient; palliative care will usually be continued unless the patient requests otherwise.
Who Needs a DNR Order?
Every competent people has the choice to deny life-saving medical treatment for any reason, and advance care planning can ensure that this right is upheld if a person becomes unable to make their own healthcare decisions.
You may request a DNR order if you are opposed to being resuscitated, have religious objections, are concerned that it will negatively affect your quality of life, or are concerned about the risks of undergoing procedures such as CPR.
Although CPR can save lives, it can also result in fractured bones, brain or other organ damage, or the inability to breathe without the use of a ventilator in older or weak patients. CPR is more effective in younger, healthier patients, and the majority of persons who receive DNR orders are already in poor health.
If you do want CPR, however, there is no need to do anything because it is the conventional course of action when a person stops breathing. Unless a DNR or other form of a directive is in effect, doctors will do everything possible to save a patient by default.
How Yo Get a DNR Order?
If you are wondering how to get a DNR form, the first step you need to do is inform your doctor that you intend to have a DNR order placed in place. Your doctor must either respect your requests or transfer your care to another doctor who is prepared to do so.
The doctor will complete a DNR order form and fill it with your medical records. Your doctor may also give you advice on how to receive a bracelet, card, or other document indicating your wishes to wear it at home or in non-hospital settings. Standard forms are also available from several state health departments.
It’s a good idea to tell your family about your decision to avoid any misunderstandings if you need to be resuscitated.
Tips for Storing Your DNR
Provide a copy of your DNR to your doctor, as well as any medical specialists or health professionals who may be caring for you. Make sure a copy of your DNR form is publicly displayed in your house or on your person so that emergency medical staff are aware that resuscitation is not an option.
What If You Change Your Mind?
If you receive a DNR but subsequently change your mind and want to be resuscitated, contact your doctor or health care team right away. You should also immediately notify your family and caretakers of your decision. To minimize confusion, destroy all documents that include the DNR order.
Need More Information?
Your end-of-life decisions should be made as soon as possible while you can still do so. Research more about your state’s DNR regulations. Even if you receive a DNR order, remember that you have the right to change your mind, withdraw the order, and request CPR.
If you’d like to understand more about the various parts of a Do-Not-Resuscitate order, reach out to schedule a consultation with experts at All American Hospice for assistance with this critical decision.