You have the right to fill out a form (called an advance directive) that tells your doctor what you want to be done in case you should become terminally ill and unable to communicate or unable to make decisions for yourself. There are two types of advance directives:
- A Living Will is a written document that expresses your healthcare wishes.
- A Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare is a written document that appoints someone else to make all healthcare decisions for you.
Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) and Comfort Care (CC)
Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) means that if a person's heart or breathing stops, no one will try to restart the heart and lungs with CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation). A DNR order is a written order by a doctor based upon your wishes to avoid having CPR if your heart or breathing stops. If you are interested in a DNR order, share your wishes with your doctor. There are two types of DNR-CC orders:
- DNR-CC: Only treatment to provide comfort care will be given to you. If your heart or lungs stop working, CPR will not be started.
- DNR-CC Arrest: You will get all "needed" treatment until the time your heart or breathing stop working. Once this occurs, CPR will not be started. All care will be done except CPR. It does NOT change the rest of the treatment plan your doctor has ordered.
Comfort care such as pain medication, oxygen, nutrition, emotional support, supporting the body and clearing the airway will still be done with both of these orders. Other healthcare providers, such as hospice, home health and pain specialists may be asked to help in your care.