Do I Need a DNR if I Have an Advance Directive?

A DNR is a ‘do not resuscitate order’ and is oftentimes part of an advance directive. It is always important to have an advance directive in place if you become incapacitated and are unable to make medical and personal decisions on your own. Even with an advance directive, you want to make sure to have a valid DNR in place, as well, if this reflects your wishes for end-of-life care.

When it comes to drafting a DNR order as part of an advance directive, it is important that you have knowledgeable and qualified legal counsel working on your or your loved one’s behalf. An experienced California elder law attorney could assist you with drafting the necessary documents that will comply with your wishes.

What Does an Advance Directive Accomplish?

First and foremost, an advance directive is a type of legal document. This document is drafted to let your healthcare providers and family members know your medical wishes in the event you are unable to express those wishes on your own. An advance directive might come into play if you become terminally ill, become seriously injured, or are in a coma and unable to speak for yourself.

Advance directives may contain a lengthy amount of information. For example, they could describe the type of medical treatment that you want to receive, depending upon the nature and extent of your injury or illness. The directive might also describe the type of care that you would wish to receive if you are currently suffering from a malady that you are unlikely to recover from. Finally, the directive might describe the type of medical care and treatment that you wish to receive if you are in a permanent coma or otherwise unconscious.

What Should an Effective Advance Directive Include?

A good and effective advance directive should include several components. Those components often include a living will and a durable power of attorney for health care. With a durable power of attorney, you essentially appoint someone to speak on your behalf regarding medical decisions in the event you are unable to make those decisions on your own. An advance directive might also include physician orders for life-sustaining treatment, sometimes abbreviated as POLST, which is prepared by a health care provider and ensures that you will receive the medical treatment that you wish to receive.

Finally, an advance directive should contain a ‘do not resuscitate order,’ if this aligns with your wishes. This order is essentially a request to your doctor that you do not want CPR or some other life-saving measure administered if you stop breathing (or if your heart stops beating). If you complete a DNR, your health care provider will ensure that the order is placed in your chart. Moreover, these orders do not necessarily have to be part of an advance directive, and they can be done on their own.

Having a DNR and/or an advance directive in place helps to ensure that your wishes are complied with at the end of your life. A knowledgeable California elder law attorney in your area will be able to assist you with drafting these important legal documents and ensuring that they are kept in the proper place.

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