What Is A DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) And How Does It Affect Your Estate Plan?

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In recent years, many people have been asking their lawyers if a “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) order –should be part of their Estate Planning. It is an understandable request given how our worlds have unraveled due to the pandemic. Have you thought about how much medical intervention you want in case of a life-threatening emergency or incapacitation? If you have not given it a thought, now would be the right time.

What is DNR or Do Not Resuscitate?

A DNR is an Advanced Directives document from your side instructing medical professionals and your family on the preferences during an intervention.  People commonly call DNR a “no-code” for indicating that the person does not want CPR or other procedures to save their life. The patient concerns that CPR may not be successful and may result in impaired or brain-damaged.  A DNR commonly applies in the following circumstances: 

  • Serious injuries
  • Cardiac disease
  • lung disease
  • During Coma
  • History of chronic disease 

What is Resuscitation?

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is the treatment you receive when your breathing or blood flow stops. It may involve:

  • Electric shock to restart the heart
  • A mouth-to-mouth breathing and pressing on the chest
  • Breathing tubes to open the airway
  • Medicines

Is It Any Different From DNAR?

DNAR and DNR are the same, but the former acronym stands for Do Not Attempt Resuscitation. The American Heart Association changed DNR to DNAR in 2005, thus removing any gray area in cases where resuscitation might be successful. People also use the term AND or Allow Natural Death to clarify the implication bluntly. Despite introducing the new terminology, most hospitals and other medical institutions still use DNR to describe the process. 

How does DNR Work in Estate Planning?

The DNR document explicitly states your preferences without which, medical professionals will take the necessary steps to revive you. A DNR  goes into effect only when you cannot communicate your wishes are incapacitated. You have to create this document beforehand to prepare for an emergency in which you might get incapacitated. It will help your family to take this decision on behalf of you if you include this document in Estate Planning.

DNR is part of your estate plan when you are conscious and can make decisions about preferences relating to the last moments. It will be mentioned in your hospital records and to be followed if such a situation comes when you could not communicate.

How Can I Create A DNR Order?

Once you decide you want a DNR order, tell your health care team and Doctor what you want. Your Doctor must follow your wishes or transfer your care to a doctor who will carry out your wishes. If you are a patient in a nursing home or a hospital, your Doctor must agree to settle any disputes so that your wishes are followed.

The Doctor will fill out the form for the DNR order.

  • Standard forms may be available from your state’s Department of Health.
  • The Doctor writes the DNR order in your medical record if you are in the hospital.
  • Your Doctor can tell you other DNR documents to have at home or in non-hospital settings.

Make sure to:

  • Include your wishes in your living will (advance care directive).
  • Inform your family and your health care agent of your decision.

How does one get a DNR?

A DNR stays in your Advanced Directives or Living Will and communicates your preferences when you are incapable of doing it yourself. It is hard to decide whether one should make a DNR due to the unpredictable nature of end-of-life circumstances. 

Once you have made a firm decision, the application process for DNR is easy. Making a DNR is a sensitive topic that needs care, communication, and compassion from all sides. Approaching a Legal Agency is the best option for making a DNR easily. 

You might be interested in reading:

Why is Advance Directive Important in End of Life Planning?

Who can Include DNR in Their Digital Estate Plan?

Practically anyone can prepare a DNR order who is going through terminal illness, severe dementia, heart, or any other medical condition. Usually, people with a high philosophical mindset about natural death and objections about CPR, draft DNR, or DNAR.

These advanced orders are known by different names such as Advanced Directives, DNR forms, Comfort ones, and many more globally. Some people even wear visible indicators, including necklaces, ankle bracelets, bracelets, etc., to ensure that DNR orders are followed when they cannot communicate at the end.

Can I Reverse a DNR?

People make a DNR for safeguarding their rights during a time of incapacitation. If you change your mind about the DNR, you can reverse it. It is your right to deny or demand treatment when you want it, and you can change your decision as long as you remain capable. 

However, there is a catch to this process of revoking a DNR. You have to reverse it while you are still conscious and capable of deciding for yourself. As long as you are deemed able, you can retract a DNR. A DNR is revocable at any time as long as you remain conscious and coherent.

One needs a lot of support and communication while deciding whether to a DNR. Sign up at Clocr to know more about Advanced Directives