No dnr

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    If a patient is admitted to hospice but does not have a dnr and they are actively dying in front of you what do you do? I answered I'd call 911 and start CPR because by not signing a dnr patient is saying they want to be resuscitated. I was told that was wrong answer and we stay with the pt and make them comfortable until they die. I understand that's the meaning of hospice but what about our licenses? Doesn't not performing CPR on a patient without a dnr in place have legal reprocussions?
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  3. 14 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    I really want to see what someone who knows more about this subject says, that is a very interesting question.
    I remember I was once told that all hospice patients are comfort care/dnr but I have no idea if that is true or not, nor am I sure where one could find such information.
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    If the patient does not have a valid DNR (called Comfort One in Alaska), you are required to perform CPR...just like EMS would have to when you call them. Your license requires this. In some states it is possible to obtain a verbal DNR from the DPOA and contact the physician for a verbal DNR during the visit, but you will want to research your state laws. In most states hospice must notify the local law enforcement agency of an expected death in the patient home. If that paper work is not completed the police and possibly the ME may be required to attend the home death, they may require an autopsy. Best to have all of those ducks in a row before the death.

    If the patient is actively dying during your visit and does not have a valid DNR call EMS and get them to the hospital asap.
  6. 0
    Quote from tewdles
    If the patient does not have a valid DNR (called Comfort One in Alaska), you are required to perform CPR...just like EMS would have to when you call them. Your license requires this. In some states it is possible to obtain a verbal DNR from the DPOA and contact the physician for a verbal DNR during the visit, but you will want to research your state laws. In most states hospice must notify the local law enforcement agency of an expected death in the patient home. If that paper work is not completed the police and possibly the ME may be required to attend the home death, they may require an autopsy. Best to have all of those ducks in a row before the death.

    If the patient is actively dying during your visit and does not have a valid DNR call EMS and get them to the hospital asap.
    So does hospice not require its patients to be DNR? Someone at work told me that, and it sounded crazy to me. This person wasn't a nurse and had never worked for hospice so I don't know why they would claim to be an authority on the matter, but I wonder if anyone else has heard that? Is it a prevalent rumor?
  7. 0
    Quote from aphillipi
    If a patient is admitted to hospice but does not have a dnr and they are actively dying in front of you what do you do? I answered I'd call 911 and start CPR because by not signing a dnr patient is saying they want to be resuscitated. I was told that was wrong answer and we stay with the pt and make them comfortable until they die. I understand that's the meaning of hospice but what about our licenses? Doesn't not performing CPR on a patient without a dnr in place have legal reprocussions?
    If your patient is admitted to hospice, usually they have a DNR order somewhere in the paperwork that admits them to hospice. The wording may not specifically say "Do Not Resuscitate" but there should be language in the order admitting the patient to hospice that effectively means that resuscitation should not be attempted for this particular patient. So possibly a better answer might have been to "I should check the paperwork for presence of a DNR or similar order and only if not finding any such order would I called 911 and start CPR. Otherwise I would stay with the patient until they passed." Usually a patient on hospice is "understood" to be a DNR.

    Prehospital providers would not hesitate to start CPR in the absence of a valid DNR order for a valid POLST order. They would be doing what is necessary to protect their own certificates and licenses based on the policies and protocols that they must follow. They do understand that hospice patients typically do not normally want to have resuscitative measures started, but they are limited by what they have in their own policies and protocols.
  8. 0
    Quote from VictoriaGayle
    So does hospice not require its patients to be DNR? Someone at work told me that, and it sounded crazy to me. This person wasn't a nurse and had never worked for hospice so I don't know why they would claim to be an authority on the matter, but I wonder if anyone else has heard that? Is it a prevalent rumor?
    Some hospice programs may have an "understanding" that their patients are effectively DNR, even in absence of an actual DNR order.
  9. 1
    Where I work pts in the home setting are not forced to be a DNR because pts/families know that 911 is a life line and they will call even if they have been told to call hospice first for anything. In our Hospice House it is our policy that the DNR has to be singed for pts to come there, even for respite or symptom control, even if the plan is to return home later. Ive had a few actively dying pts on admit/scheduled visit or that just started crashing right in front of me. I offered to call 911. Most every family decided to forgo CPR and make pt comfortable,as they knew CPR was futile and wouldnt cure the cancer or whatever they had. Ive also had families to find the pt expired and call 911. Most of the time EMT's saw the debilited condition of the pt and called ER doc for a verbal order of DNR. CPR is against the hospice phillosphy. Hospice doesnt treat death. Most pts/families have already had the whole CPR/DNR conversation prior to being refered to hospice. Its usually the younger pts that have problems with signing it and sometimes even talking about it. Essentially, I believe, its up to the hospice if they force their pts to sign DNR.
    Mrsearly2009 likes this.
  10. 1
    In Ohio, Michigan, and Alaska there is no "presumed" DNR. They either have legal DNR documentation or they do not. DNR status is not required for hospice services. Hospice does not force people to sign DNR paperwork.

    If the patient is a full code we start CPR when appropriate.
    enchantmentdis likes this.
  11. 0
    This is a really interesting thread.
    I guess if I ever get to be a hospice nurse I should remember to double check state laws and the programs standards as it seems to vary incase I'm in a situation like OP.
  12. 1
    Maybe this is a state by state thing, but I live in Michigan and you would definitely do CPR and call 911 on a patient without a legal DNR in place. We had very vew patients who refused to sign the DNR, but it happens sometimes, especially with younger patients who can't accept that they are dying. A DNR is a very scary concept to wrap your head around for some people. We even had a few cases, though, where an elderly patient who was not competent to make healthcare decisions, had no living will, and had no family involved, remained a DNR until a court-appointed guardian was in place to sign a formal DNR. This is serious stuff and, at least in my state, it is never just assumed that a hospice patient is DNR status.
    tewdles likes this.


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