Creating an advance directive ensures your wishes are honored when it comes to end-of-life care. If you are unable to communicate your wishes decisions will be left up to doctors and family, which could mean that your desires are not known. One common aspect of advance directives are do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders, which must be fully understood to be certain you are making the right decision. 

What is a DNR? 

DNRs are concerned with CPR only. CPR is a medical treatment provided if a person’s breathing or blood flow stops. There are many types of CPR, including mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. In this case, a medical professional would blow into the person’s mouth while performing chest compressions in an attempt to induce breathing again. 

CPR also involves medical devices, which shock the heart into beating again. Medical professionals can also insert air tubes into the patient’s mouth or administer medication. All of these measures are intended to save a person’s life after an accident or illness has caused terminal complications. 

I do not want CPR, what should I do? 

First, speak with your doctor about your decision. It is crucial that you make it with a full understanding of what you are agreeing to, and your doctor can explain exactly what CPR entails and when it is commonly used. Next, you will need to fill out a DNR order. If you are already in the hospital, a note will be added to your chart. If you are well but planning for the future, you can sign up for a card or bracelet that explains your wishes. 

You might also consider selecting a health care agent. Even with a DNR in place, many families try to dispute the order under the belief that it is not in their loved one’s best interests. A health care agent can communicate your wishes directly to your family to prevent disputes from occurring.