A worrying review of the way that Do Not Attempt Resuscitate (DNAR) orders has been applied during the Covid-19 pandemic, brings to the fore the need to consider your future care. Planning for your future and discussing what you want with your loved ones will not only put your mind at ease, but also ensure that you receive appropriate medical treatment should you need it in the future.

What is a DNAR order?

A DNAR order is an instruction not to attempt CPR. They are designed to protect people from any unnecessary suffering by receiving CPR that they do not want, that will not work, or where the harm will outweigh the benefits. It only applies to CPR, and not to other treatments.

Only the most senior clinician responsible for someone’s care can make a DNAR order. Where possible, this decision should be made with the person involved.

You can state that you do not want CPR to be attempted as part of your advance care planning. The clinicians making decisions about your treatment will then take this into consideration.

Care Quality Commission (CQC) review

The CQC conducted a review into how DNAR orders have been applied during the Covid-19 pandemic. They had been concerned to hear reports that medical professionals had been applying them to groups of older people in care homes, rather than on an individual basis. Unfortunately, the CQC’s initial findings published this week (3 December 2020), found that there have indeed been instances of blanket DNARs on older people in particular.

Planning for our future care

It is clear that we should start our own conversations with loved ones about our future care. Would we want to be resuscitated? What about our wider care wishes? Unfortunately, once we’re in an emergency it may be too late.

According to figures from Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE), only 59% of people aged 70 and over have discussed their future care wishes with their loved ones. 81% of people think that planning for the future is important. However, only 22% have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?

Having an LPA means that if you are ill or injured, the people you have chosen (your attorneys) will make important decisions on your behalf. There are two types of LPA. The first is a property and financial affairs LPA. This gives your attorneys the power to make decisions relating to your money and property. However, it is the second type, a health and welfare LPA, that we are concerned with here.

A health and welfare LPA can give your attorneys the power to make decisions relating to the medical treatment you would receive and where you would live. For more information about Lasting Powers of Attorney, why not read our FAQ.

Conversations about our wishes should we lose mental and/or physical capacity are difficult. However, the CQC investigation serves to highlight just how important those difficult conversations are for people of all ages.

If you would like to discuss making a Lasting Power of Attorney, call us on 0800 9887756. Our team is helpful and straightforward. We will have a free initial discussion about your requirements and will help you plan for your future care.