End of life care is not a topic most people care to think about, but communicating your wishes regarding treatment preferences is something that’s worth considering, even if you are in perfect health. A living will allows you to describe these preferences. This legal document will speak for you when you can’t speak for yourself.

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A do not resuscitate, or DNR, order is often included in a Living Will. This order instructs health care providers not to perform CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) if you stop breathing or if your heart stops.

A Do Not Resuscitate Guide

Do not resuscitate orders are sometimes referred to as “no code,” or “allow natural death.” Many people in the healthcare community prefer these terms simply because they focus on what is being done, rather than what is not being done. Regardless of the term that is used, this order will facilitate the same response.

This do not resuscitate guide will provide you with information on why a DNR orders are used and when it may be appropriate to include one in your living will.

Hospital staff will always try to resuscitate patients unless they are given explicit instructions not to. Because a living will is considered an advance directive, you can include a DNR order instructing physicians and hospital staffs not to resuscitate.  

You can create a living will online to specify your end of care wishes and include a do not resuscitate order if you wish. A do not resuscitate order will not affect treatments that do not require CPR or intubation. For example, patients will still continue chemotherapy, dialysis and other necessary treatments.

When is a DNR Order Appropriate?

If you are drafting a living will, you may be wondering whether or not a no code order is appropriate. Certain patients are unlikely to benefit from resuscitation, such as:

  • Terminal cancer patients
  • Those with severe infections, such as pneumonia
  • Patients with kidney disease
  • Patients who have suffered from a serious stroke

Whether or not an “allow natural deathorder is appropriate will all depend on your own personal preferences and your medical condition. You may want to discuss your concerns about resuscitation with your doctor and loved ones before creating an advance directive, especially if you already have one of the conditions listed above.

Get started Start Your Living Will Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.

Get started Start Your Living Will Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.