What You Need to Know About a Do Not Resuscitate Order

The decisions involved in estate planning are deeply personal. Each person’s life and preferences are unique, and there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. You may have heard of a “do not resuscitate order” and wonder whether this is a good tool to include in your estate plan.

When making your estate plan, you should discuss your situation with an experienced estate planning attorney. They will be able to advise you regarding the implications of all the legal instruments you could wish to include in your estate plan and how they might benefit you and your family.

What Is a Do Not Resuscitate Order?

A do not resuscitate (DNR) order is an advance directive often created along with a living will. A DNR provides medical direction to emergency medical personnel. This document alerts medical personnel that you don’t want CPR if your heart stops or you stop breathing. A DNR also addresses other measures you may not want, such as ventilators, feeding tubes, and pain medication.

What Is CPR?

Without a DNR, healthcare providers may use cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to revive a patient. This emergency lifesaving procedure can double or triple a patient’s chances of surviving cardiac arrest. However, some people may prefer that CPR not be performed on them.

Since CPR is performed in emergencies when a patient is unresponsive, there is no way to obtain the patient’s consent before performing CPR. Healthcare professionals assume a patient’s consent unless the patient has executed a DNR.

What Are Some Reasons a Person May Choose to Have a DNR?

A DNR is typically executed when a person has health conditions that can involve CPR-related complications. These conditions may include terminal illness or chronic disease. There may be a risk of brain damage or impairment after receiving CPR in these situations. There is also a chance that CPR may not be effective.

A terminally ill person may wish not to have CPR if their illness has advanced to the point where death could be seen as a relief.

For these reasons or because of personal preference, a person may elect not to receive CPR. By executing a DNR, a person can legally specify their desire that CPR not be performed on them. A DNR is not typically executed by a person who is in good health.

If you are considering adding a DNR to your estate plan, you might benefit from speaking with your doctor about your situation. They can answer any questions you have and address any concerns. Each person’s physical health is different. Based on a variety of factors, your doctor can discuss what you may expect to encounter after receiving CPR.

When Does a DNR Go Into Effect?

A DNR goes into effect when a patient is incapacitated. Once a DNR is executed, no one can override it if you experience cardiac arrest or stop breathing. You are the only individual who can rescind a DNR once it is created. This means that even if you told your spouse or a friend that you changed your mind about the DNR prior to being incapacitated, the DNR would still be in effect.

You do still have the option to withdraw a DNR after it is established. However, this necessitates that you do so before the need for a DNR arises. If you change your mind about resuscitation, it’s critical that you act quickly to withdraw your DNR. Talk to your lawyer about how to accomplish this.

How Is a DNR Created?

The state of Illinois has a standard DNR form that is a short one-page document. It includes preferences regarding hospitalization, intensive care, and comfort-focused treatment. Completing this form is a common way to establish a DNR. This involves the signature of the patient’s attending practitioner.

Another way of effectively establishing a DNR is to designate a healthcare power of attorney (POA). This is a person who is legally able to make medical decisions on behalf of another person. In such situations, an individual can advise their POA of their desire for a DNR.

Call Peck Ritchey, LLC Now

When you are creating your estate plan, there are many considerations. You should discuss your situation with an experienced estate planning attorney who understands how a DNR may affect you.

Contact us today at (855) 328-5787 to speak with a Peck Ritchey, LLC Chicago estate planning attorney. You can also submit a contact form, and we will call you. Our lawyers can help you understand your options so you can make the best decision.