DNR pet peeve

  1. 19
    I am so annoyed with doctors and nurses who don't understand the difference between DNR and palliative care!

    It scares the wits out of me when I've had a patient who is DNR and the MD drags his feet to treat a patient for something TOTALLY treatable. An example is a patient spiking fevers and incr WBCs (admitting dx completely nothing to do with it) and the MD doesn't think it's worth investigating a source of infection and just treating it!!
    Or an RN who exclaims "she doesn't need to be on telemetry then!" when I give report that a DNR patient is on cardiac monitoring. We had a healthy argument where he insisted that he shouldn't waste his time observing heart rhythms if the patient is DNR. Meanwhile the patient that day went into SVT (again, unrelated to admitting dx) and we converted it and went on with our day. Why SHOULDN'T you fix what's fixable??

    DNR does not mean withdraw care! A family made a painstaking decision to not resuscitate their relative in THE EVENT that it could be required. They TRUSTED us with this delicate situation and in return we are distorting their intentions into something that is more akin to just neglecting their loved one altogether!

    Really makes me think twice about a DNR order for MY family.
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  3. 32 Comments so far...

  4. 7
    I see this happen all the time with my assisted living residents. They fall and crack their heads open, scalp open to the skull, they're altered....and when the paramedics arrive they look at the POLST form and go "Oh, s/he's a DNR, we're not going to transport." Excuse me, since when did Do Not Resuscitate become Do Not Treat?

    I've fought this battle many times over, and I usually win even though the resident almost always gets boomeranged back to me within hours. Frankly, I don't care if they have a DNR---so do I, and what that means is I don't want to be brought back if I am clearly deceased....if there are no vital signs and no respirations. If I'm alive, even barely, then for gosh sake take care of me! Who is an EMT, or a nurse, to make the decision not to treat something that may be fixable?

    Most DNRs have subsets of orders that provide for the patient's wishes as to whether s/he wants short- or long-term artificial nutrition, antibiotics for infections, IV fluids, etc. I've even advised a few EMTs to ignore those orders at their peril........I certainly won't be the one to answer charges of failure to rescue.
    JMomBaby, VickyRN, DarkBluePhoenix, and 4 others like this.
  5. 3
    Unquestionably, DNR stands for Do Not Resuscitate. In other words, a person who does not wish to have cardiopulmonary resuscitation CPR performed may make this wish known through a doctor's order called a DNR order. Therefore, a DNR order addresses the various methods used to revive people whose hearts have stopped functioning or who have stopped breathing. Following this further, several examples of these treatments include chest compressions, electric heart shock, artificial breathing tubes, and special drugs. On the other hand, the goal of palliative care is to relieve suffering and provide the best possible quality of life for people facing the pain, including symptoms and stresses of serious illness. Moreover, it is appropriate at any age and at any stage of an illness, and it can be provided along with treatments that are meant to cure. In order to get palliative care, you must ask your doctor for a referral. Lastly, if a person is interested in Palliative Care, they need to do a little research at hospitals in their area that offer palliative care. In conclusion, it’s understandable that not all medical staff is aware of the differences between these two. However, is imperative that every medical staff should be aware and understand the differences, in order to offer some information to their patients regarding the two treatments.
    Nurse Leigh, lindarn, and VivaLasViejas like this.
  6. 4
    I'm thankful my facility does a pretty good job with this. Just today I had a 94 year old DNR pt who was starting to tank on me. The on call doc did not withhold any care or appear disinterested in treating this pt due to DNR status.
    VickyRN, VivaLasViejas, lindarn, and 1 other like this.
  7. 6
    This is a huge problem I have with some nurses/doctors, as well. DNR DOES NOT MEAN DO NOT TREAT, PEOPLE!! It is scary and unsafe and it is not acceptable for health care professionals to not know the difference. If patients/families want less done in the event of illness (no feeding tube, abx, etc etc) other than just a DNR then they need to specify that in a living will!!
    brandy1017, Pfiesty, VickyRN, and 3 others like this.
  8. 3
    Quote from GitanoRN
    Therefore, a DNR order addresses the various methods used to revive people whose hearts have stopped functioning or who have stopped breathing. Following this further, several examples of these treatments include chest compressions, electric heart shock, artificial breathing tubes, and special drugs.
    Maybe it depends on the facility. At my facility, DNR means do not do chest compressions and do not breath for the patient (any method) if the patient's heart and breathing have stopped. Electrical cardioversion, intubation (if the patient hasn't stopped breathing on his/her own all together), and special drugs are considered pre-arrest emergency interventions, and they can be done on a DNR patient. It is apparent that the OP's facility also sees cardioversion via drugs or electrical shock as a pre-arrest intervention on a DNR patient too.
  9. 6
    DNR--we do not initiate chest compressions or rescue breathing. We also have Do Not Intubate, Do Not Hospitalize(except for fall with fracture), No IV, No GTube.It's no wonder so many people and families won't sign a DNR since they think it means we are going to do nothing if they get sick.
    Pfiesty, VickyRN, my2bitz, and 3 others like this.
  10. 3
    i'm more irritated when the family wants us to do everything and the patient is in their 90's. They seem shocked that a 90 something year old might be ready to go to heaven.
  11. 7
    Obituary common on Cape Cod: Died unexpectedly at the age of 98.
    If you don't expect to die when you're 98, when DO you expect it?
    However, people are entitled to choose whatever extreme measures they want at the end of life.
    NurseKatie08, JordanRose, Pfiesty, and 4 others like this.
  12. 4
    Sometimes they don't understand what's fixable and what's not. In my case, I had to explain to my patient's daughter that if her 93 year old mother throws another PE and we intubate, it won't end well. But I had to earn her trust by explaining that there are other things that may come up in her medical care which we CAN fight to fix and that DNI meant only that we wouldn't begin artificial ventilation. It took a lot out of the daughter to agree to a DNR/DNI and I want to follow through on her wishes.

    I'm not irritated that she wants to keep her mom alive. I also to see her mother be discharged from the hopsital because it's entirely possible. Daughter wasn't ready for her mom to pass away and I can sympathize with that. I also have no right to say that her mother should die today versus in a year or two in a nursing home or at home with family.
    Pfiesty, sapphire18, VivaLasViejas, and 1 other like this.


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