A do not resuscitate order, or DNR, is a medical order written by a doctor. It instructs health care providers not to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if breathing stops or if the heart stops beating.
A DNR order allows you to choose before an emergency occurs whether you want CPR. It is a decision only about CPR. It does not affect other treatments, such as pain medicine, medicines, or nutrition.
The doctor writes the order only after talking about it with the patient (if possible), the proxy, or family.
CPR is the treatment you receive when your blood flow or breathing stops.
CPR may involve:
If you are near the end of your life or you have an illness that will not improve, you can choose whether you want CPR to be done.
These can be hard choices for you and those who are close to you. There is no hard and fast rule about what you may choose.
Think about the issue while you are still able to decide for yourself
A DNR order may be a part of a hospice care plan. The focus of this care is on treating symptoms of pain or shortness of breath to maintain comfort, but not to prolong life.
If you have a DNR order, you always have the right to change your mind and request CPR.
If you decide you want a DNR order, tell your doctor what you want. Your doctor must follow your wishes, or:
The doctor can fill out the form for the DNR order.
Make sure to:
If you do change your mind, talk with your doctor right away. Also tell your family and caregivers about your decision. Destroy any documents that you may have that state the DNR order.
Due to illness you may not be able to state your wishes about CPR.
If you have not named someone to speak for you, a family member or friend can agree to a DNR order for you only when:
No code; End-of-life - do not resuscitate; DNR
Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.