Quote from Pat_Pat
But now both those terms are outdated. We learned "AND", Allow Natural Death.
Geez, can't we just keep something the same!??
It can be annoying when there seems to be so much change just for the sake of changing things. This, however, could be an important restatement of a goal.
"Do not resuscitate" and "no code" both put the emphasis on withholding life-saving measures. Stated that way, it seems as if the patient is being deprived in some way.
Saying "allow natural death" instead makes room for the idea that forcing drastic (and often painful) measures on a body that is ready to go can be more of a deprivation than doing the heroics. It acknowledges that a peaceful death (as opposed to a violent resuscutation effort that may well end in failure) can be seen as a valuable transition and ought not to be taken from the patient against his or her will.
DNR asks practitioners to resist doing something they are conditioned to want to do. "Allow natural death" permits them to see a graceful transition as one final thing they can do
for the patient. They can then view their part in the last moments as giving rather than withholding. This can make a big difference in the caregivers' willingness to respect the patient's wishes and in their response to the passing itself.
It's the difference between saying, "Don't do something bad," and saying, "Do this good thing that the patient has chosen," and that can be huge.