Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) Orders contains direction for medical personnel who might be responsible in treating you if you happen to stop breathing. These instructions may be used during “prehospital” and “out of hospital” cases where you do not want to be revived through any invasive emergency techniques like cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or electric shock case you stop breathing.
If you are admitted as a patient to the hospital, you may request for a DNR order to be a part of your medical chart. For the elderly and the severely ill, this DNR order can help ensure the maintenance of their dignity during end of life.
DNR orders are only in effect if the patient does not have a heartbeat or has stop breathing altogether. This is not applied when the person is still breathing or undergoing treatment. Medical personnel will still provide you with warmth and comfort by alleviating your pain or stop any bleeding, as long as you are alive and breathing.
Even if you wrote in your advance directive that you do not wish to receive any CPR, emergency responders may still revive you because they don’t have any idea about the presence of an advance directive and may not have the time to read the document even if they knew of its existence. As a result, without prior knowledge of the person’s preferences, emergency responders will go ahead and do the best they can to save the patient, which could include invasive procedures like intubation and ventilation and even CPR.
Creating a DNR
CPR can save lives, but the success rate outside the hospital is not high. If a patient is seriously ill, applying CPR may worsen the situation because it can cause painful injuries or may leave the person brain-damaged.
People with terminal illness and have high risk for respiratory or cardiac arrest may want to consider a DNR order that can allow them to forgo resuscitation and have peace and dignity when they die.
Creating a DNR is simple and affordable. The only person that you need it signed with is your doctor and the presence of an adult witnesses or a lawyer who will witness for you as you sign the document.
Revoking a DNR
You can revoke a DNR order at any time.
Making Sure Your DNR Wishes are Applied
Emergency medical personnel cannot apply your wishes if it is not seen nor read by them during emergencies. Make sure to keep a copy where it is accessible, by your bedside or with your medication list. When you travel, keep a copy with you, placing it in your wallet or suitcase letting rescuers know that you have a DNR document. Wearing a bracelet that can alert emergency medical personnel that you have a DNR may also be a good option.