Advance Healthcare Directive (AHD)

End of Life Management Toolkit #5 | by Team Passare and Y Colaborative

2. Do Not Resuscitate Directive

Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) is a legal medical instruction to both your physician and family. The DNR form eliminates the potential for conflict and declares whether or not you want to be resuscitated when you are unable to speak for yourself.

The physician and family must honor the patient’s declaration under the DNR. You may request a DNR form from your physician to fill out at home or in the hospital. The physician will administer treatments per your DNR request form. You may also request a DNR device that is worn as a necklace or bracelet in lieu of a DNR form.

If you decide that you want to be resuscitated, doctors will administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR. CPR refers to the medical procedures used to restart a patient’s heart and breathing when the patient suffers heart failure.

The DNR form must be signed and witnessed by at least two people.

DNRs are also referred to as NO CODE. The term came from medical professionals using the words CODE BLUE as an alert to perform CPR. If you want NO CODE, you must decide before you are incapacitated. A DNR is not meant to take away life, but to allow for a natural death when survival conditions are dismal. Medical personnel often refer to a DNR as an AND (Allow Natural Death).

Helpful Hint: DNR forms vary from state to state so be sure to carefully read the associated terms.

Now, take a few minutes to answer these questions.
  1. What are your thoughts about a DNR for yourself ?
  2. Under what conditions would you NOT want to be resuscitated?
  3. Do you want to have a DNR? Why or why not? If you do wish to have a natural death, have you discussed your wishes with your proxy and family?
  4. Who should have a copy of your DNR?
  5. What are your state’s requirements and terms for a DNR?
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