Private Physicians of SouthWest Florida
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Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.

Understanding DNR OrdersOrden de no reanimar

Understanding DNR Orders

Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders tell hospital staff not to perform potentially life-saving measures, such as CPR, if the patient's heart and lungs stop working. A DNR order must be written by a doctor. This can only be done with the patient's or family's consent. If a patient has not written an advance directive, the family with the help of the healthcare team will decide on a DNR.

You can cancel a DNR order at any time. Ask the nurse if you have any questions about the DNR form.

Writing a DNR Order

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When might a DNR order be written? When a patient is near death, if recovery isn't likely, or if the treatment could cause more harm than good. Coma and terminal illness are instances when a DNR order might be used.

Irreversible Coma

In a coma, a patient does not respond to sight, sound, or touch. The heart and lungs could be working, but brain function is damaged due to trauma or disease.

Terminal Illness

In the last stages of heart disease, AIDS, cancer, and other illnesses, some patients don't want to prolong their suffering. If recovery isn't likely and quality of life is poor or getting worse, a patient or the family may agree to a DNR order.

DNR Orders and Hospice care

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A hospice program can offer care during the final weeks of life. Hospice programs provide pain control and comfort care in the home or at special facilities. Hospice does not provide aggressive treatment. In fact, a DNR order will likely be discussed before a patient is admitted to hospice. A social worker or case manager may be able to help you arrange for hospice support.

Date Last Reviewed: 2005-05-05T00:00:00-06:00

Date Last Modified: 2009-06-01T00:00:00-06:00


Dr West took such wonderful care of my husband Dick and that care extended his life by years. I continue to be fortunate to have him helping me to stay healthy. I wish there was a way for everyone to experience that quality of medicine.

By the way in the last two days this office is the only place that took my temperature before they would let me in. Shell Point and another doctors' office just ask you the questions as to where you have been lately.

Keep up the good work! PH

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