About Do Not Resuscitate Orders

A recent news story highlighted an ethical dilemma that arose for doctors who were treating an unresponsive patient and found “Do Not Resuscitate” and a signature tattooed on the patient’s chest. Fortunately, the physicians eventually were able to locate an actual Do Not Resuscitate form for the patient and could, therefore, honor those wishes.

Just what is a Do Not Resuscitate, or DNR, order? A DNR expresses, in a legal format, your wishes not to have lifesaving measures performed should the need arise. This document provides clear direction for your hospital, assisted living facility or nursing home.

Upon admittance to a health facility, you may be asked about your wishes should an event arise where you are unable to answer in the moment. For example, if you stop breathing, have a heart issue, a stroke or any other condition that may put you in a position for life-saving measures, do you want the hospital to do everything possible to keep you alive?

There is no right answer. You may decide you want life-saving measures, or you may decide you don’t want them. When my parents were nearing the end of their lives, they made the decision that they had lived full lives and if they were to stop breathing, they wanted to be left to die. The point is that you should make this decision at a time when you are able to avoid the decision being made for you.

Although DNR is a common term, you may hear some hospitals refer to this as “no code,” which means they won’t call for help to revive you if you stop breathing or are unconscious. The hospital may also refer to “allowing a natural death,” which means the same thing.

If you haven’t already, discuss your Do Not Resuscitate wishes with your doctor, hospital or healthcare facility. They will let you know how to proceed with the proper paperwork.

Source: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/do-not-resuscitate-dnr-tattoo-leaves-doctors-debating-whether-to-save-his-life/

Do you want to learn more about navigating the health care system? Pick up my book Your Hospital Stay in which you can learn about the other documents you should have in place.

How To Improve Your Health Literacy

Last month was Health Literacy Month, but at MyHealthSpin, my goal is to spread health literacy all year long by giving you the information you need to make the best, most informed decisions when it comes to your health and healthcare. Here are a few ways you can improve your health literacy in order to play a more active role in your health.

Listen
Being at the doctor can be overwhelming, especially if you’re facing scary news about your health. But, make sure you listen to everything the doctor has to say. Bring a pen and a pad of paper to write down everything. Or have a family member come with you to serve as a second pair of ears. That way you can remember what your doctor said after you return home.

Do your research
This doesn’t mean research your symptoms and self-diagnose. This means to do your research once you have seen a licensed healthcare professional. For example, if your doctor tells you you have high blood pressure, research what you can do to maintain it. It’s important to know everything you can about your health. 

Ask questions
Be sure you ask your doctor questions. Doctors are busy but they can still answer your questions. The more you know the more proactive you will be able to be when it comes to your health. 

Teach
Teach others the things you learn about health and healthcare. Not only does it reinforce it but it helps others to gain knowledge. 

 

To learn more about healthcare pick up my ebooks in Easy Healthcare: Set 3. This set includes three books to help you navigate your health care: Before You Get Sick, Your Hospital Stay, and free bonus What You Need First.

How to Find Out if Your Doctor is “In Network”

Are you switching health insurance plans? If so, one of the first things you will want to check is which physicians are “in network.” This is especially important if you have a particular physician or specialist that you see would prefer to continue with him or her rather than switching to a new doctor.

Insurance plans often have preferred doctors and may refer to that list of physicians as in network. There may be a separate list of physicians that are out of network. Some health plans may refer to these levels with different terminology like Tier 1 and Tier 2. Whatever language is used, it’s important to pay attention to these lists, because the difference could impact your wallet.

In network or preferred doctors are those that have accepted arrangements with your particular health insurance to be reimbursed for payment. These doctors generally have low, or sometimes no, copay and usually all or most of the work by that physician will be covered by your insurance.

Out-of-network doctors do not have these same benefits. Be sure to carefully read what is covered for visits with out-of-network physicians. These visits may have higher copays, higher deductibles, and you may receive a bill for some or all of the costs. For example, a visit to an in-network primary care physician may have a $15 copay and the rest of the visit cost may be fully covered by insurance, meaning you don’t have to pay anything further. The same visit to an out-of-network primary care physician may have a $30 copay, and the insurance plan may only cover 80% of the cost of the visit, meaning you will get a bill for the other 20%. Out-of-network costs can really add up over time.

So, how do you know if your favored doctor is in network? There are several ways you can find out. A good place to start is the health plan’s website. Most health plans have a “find a doctor” search tool. Search for your doctor there and see if they show up as in network (or preferred or Tier 1) or out of network.

You can also call your doctor’s office directly and ask if your doctor participates in the health plan. They will be able to tell you if the doctor and facility are fully or partially covered.

Once you have your answer, you’ll be able to make a decision about which insurance plan is right for you.

 

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