What does Do Not Resuscitate Mean?

Dnr Bracelet And Hospital Form

Today, we are going to learn about a Do Not Resuscitate or DNR order. This document is important in making sure your wishes are followed when you are in the hospital, assisted living facility or nursing home.

This month we have been focusing on the health legal documents you need before you go to the hospital. If you missed any of the previous posts in the series, catch up with the links at the end of this post. 

Depending on the status of your health, the hospital may ask you or your family what your wishes are if you lose consciousness while you are in a health facility. You might have a heart attack, a stroke or stop breathing. The question the hospital is asking you is whether you want the hospital to do everything possible to keep you alive.  They are asking if you want the healthcare providers to attempt to get you breathing and conscious again. Some people, like my parents, make the decision that they have lived a full life and if they stop breathing, they want to be left to die.

You may hear other terms for this. For example, some hospitals might call this a “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.

The person who you have selected to be your Patient Advocate will be the person who will decide whether you want a DNR order in your medical chart. This is another reason why you want to have a Patient Advocate form completed so everyone knows what to do if you lose consciousness. (See the previous post links below for more information on the Patient Advocate Form.) 

If you haven’t discussed this with your healthcare provider,  speak with your doctor, hospital or healthcare facility.

Have you ever had problems getting the hospital to allow you or your loved one to follow your wishes? If so, I’d love to hear from you!

Previous posts in this series:

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