Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)
Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) order LINGO
In understanding a Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) order, and the terms associated, we are defining the following terms in the hopes that it may bring more understanding and clarity.
Knowledge is power.
Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) order – A DNR order is a physician’s written order instructing healthcare providers not to attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in case of cardiac or respiratory arrest. A person with a valid DNR order will not be given CPR under these circumstances. Although the DNR order is written at the request of a person or his or her family, it must be signed by a physician to be valid. A non-hospital DNR order is written for individuals who are at home and do not want to receive CPR.
Artificial nutrition and hydration – Artificial nutrition and hydration supplements or replaces ordinary eating and drinking by giving a chemically balanced mix of nutrients and fluids through a tube placed directly into the stomach, the upper intestine or a vein.
Brain death – The irreversible loss of all brain function. Most states legally define death to include brain death.
Capacity – In relation to end-of-life decision-making, a patient has medical decision-making capacity if he or she has the ability to understand the medical problem and the risks and benefits of the available treatment options. The patient’s ability to understand other unrelated concepts is not relevant. The term is frequently used interchangeably with competency but is not the same. Competency is a legal status imposed by the court.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation – Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a group of treatments used when someone’s heart and/or breathing stops. CPR is used in an attempt to restart the heart and breathing. It may consist only of mouth-to-mouth breathing or it can include pressing on the chest to mimic the heart’s function and cause blood to circulate. Electric shock and drugs also are used frequently to stimulate the heart.
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