Marteny: Addressing a difficult decision
It’s a decision that all seniors should think about in advance: Do I want to be resuscitated or not in the case of a respiratory and/or cardiac arrest?
Finding an answer to that question for a senior should also involve a discussion with their doctors.
If a senior does not want to be resuscitated, then the doctor provides a form called the No Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, which is signed by the individual or the person’s authorized substitute decision-maker and the doctor.
If a senior wants to be resuscitated, then nothing else need be done.
However, it would be advisable to let family members and your doctor in on that decision.
Seniors should review the resuscitation form yearly to determine if their thinking has changed.
Otherwise, that decision stays in effect unless rescinded. At any time, the decision can be rescinded and the form destroyed.
The No Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Form is commonly referred to as a DNR (do not resuscitate) form.
It is often agreed to by seniors who are considered to be at the natural end of their lives, who want to ensure that no active resuscitation will be started on their behalf if they are dying.
“No active resuscitation” is defined as no cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the event of a respiratory and/or cardiac arrest.
The form allows seniors to clearly state that they do not want active resuscitation to be given to them in circumstances where they can no longer make the decision for themselves.
It instructs ambulance attendants and emergency room personnel not to start active resuscitation on their behalf whether the senior is at home, in the community or in a long-term care facility.
It is important that the form be quickly available to show emergency help if they are called to come to the senior’s aid. A no-CPR bracelet is available to wear for quick verification as well.
When the senior’s authorized substitute decision-maker signs the form, that is an understanding in writing that care of the senior is to include support and comfort only, that no active resuscitation is to be undertaken.
Sharen Marteny is a services consultant for seniors in Kelowna.