A do not resuscitate order (DNR), also known as a CPR directive, is an advance directive that requests cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) not be performed in the event that the individual stop breathing or that their heart stops beating.
Without this order in place, medical staff and emergency responders would always attempt to help any patient in such a scenario. The DNR order, which must be approved by a doctor, informs medical personnel of your wishes not to be resuscitated. Once approved and in place, the DNR order will be honored.
For Colorado residents, this is a document that can be requested by the terminally ill or those weak from sickness that conveys their wishes to not receive resuscitation procedures in the event that they’re dying. This document must be approved and signed by the patient’s physician. Once approved, the patient will wear a DNR order on their person, which is typically in the form of a bracelet. The DNR order will prevent medical personal and emergency responders from performing resuscitation procedures on the patient.
What Is an Advance Directive?
An advance directive is written instruction that details an individual’s treatment preferences, typically for end-of-life care. For example, these instructions might lay out a preference for care that reduces pain and prioritizes comfort over that of a life-extending treatment.
Note, however, that an advance directive can detail the type of treatment you want in a variety of conditions, whether this is a terminal condition, unconscious state, and so on. In your advance directive you also have the option of naming a health care agent with whom you trust to make your medical decisions.
Is It Important to Have Advance Directives?
While they’re not often pleasant scenarios to think about, taking the time to complete your advance directives while you have the chance is your opportunity to make your medical preferences known. Having advance directives in place will lighten the burden on yourself and your loved ones.
Anyone over the age of 18 has the option of preparing advance directives. While advance directives may typically be associated as something that older adults should have in place, there is good reason for young adults to have them prepared, as well.
For example, even kids heading off to college should have a medical power of attorney in place so that they’re prepared in the event that something was to happen. This would prevent the need to get a court order before making medical decisions for your child.
It’s always a smart idea to have your medical choices for certain scenarios dictated and made available. In this way, your wishes can be known and carried out in the event that you’re unable to speak or communicate.
Not only is this smart planning but it’s also a considerate thing to do. The last thing you’d want is to place the heavy burden of such decisions on your loved ones. In certain unfortunate circumstances, these decisions could even involve going to court to obtain an order for treatment or care.
What Is a Medical Power of Attorney?
A medical power of attorney, also known as a medical POA or health POA, is a legal document used by an individual to name and give authority to an agent in the event that tough medical decisions need to be made on their behalf.
Typically, the medical power of attorney becomes active in the event that an individual becomes unconscious or unable to make key decisions for themselves. Additionally, a medical power of attorney is legally binding so long as the agent named in the document is present. The named agent is obligated to act in accordance to the wishes of the patient. If the agent is not present then medical personnel will look to a living will and adhere to the language and wishes it contains.
What Is a Living Will?
Another advance directive to be familiar with is a living will, which is a legal document that dictates your personal choices concerning end-of-life medical treatments. This might include decisions for how to handle life-sustaining treatments in the event an individual cannot speak for him or herself, or if that individual is in a vegetative state.
Drafting a living will does not require the services of an attorney or permission of a doctor. However, two witness signatures are required for the living will to be valid. Also, note that a living will is different from that of a traditional will or a living trust, which pertain to assets and property.