Clients who have strong preferences regarding their personal care sometimes include wishes or directions for their attorney to follow in making health care decisions on their behalf. These wishes or directions may include the client’s desire that the hospital refrain from administering CPR or other resuscitation. In addition or alternatively, a client undergoing treatment may have a conversation with his or her health care team regarding resuscitation and a Do Not Resuscitate (“DNR”) Order may be marked on his or her chart. Almost always, this desire is indicated because the client feels strongly about the issue.
Many people aren’t aware that first responders (e.g. paramedics or firefighters) typically require an additional form before following a client’s DNR direction. This is the case even if the client’s DNR wishes are indicated in a power of attorney for personal care and the attorney is present or if they are marked on his or her hospital chart. The form must be completed by the client and the client’s health care provider (doctor, registered nurse or registered practical nurse).
This requirement has implications for all clients (since travel by ambulance is always a possibility), but extra significance for clients who receive part or all of their treatment at home. If a client feels strongly about no CPR and has included a wish or direction to this effect in his or her power of attorney for personal care, consider discussing this form with him or her and encouraging the client’s review of it with his or her doctor.