What Are DNR Forms For?


Quick Answer

Patients sign do not resuscitate forms, or DNRs, to indicate to health care professionals that in case of emergency, they do not want to receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, to restore breathing or heart rates, according to MedlinePlus. Doctors prepare DNRs in consultation with patients when possible, or with family members or someone acting as a proxy for a patient who is medically unable to sign for himself.

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Full Answer

DNRs are specific to the administration of CPR, and do not affect whether doctors administer medications or take other steps to care for critically ill patients, notes MedlinePlus. Patients who wish to receive CPR do not have to take steps to indicate such, however a patient who does not wish to be resuscitated must have a DNR order, or have one signed by a qualified family member or proxy. A patient who signs DNR forms has the right to change his mind and reverse the order.

If a patient requests DNR forms, doctors must either comply or transfer his care to another doctor, states MedlinePlus. Doctors include DNR orders in patients' medical charts if they are in the hospital and advise patients on how to obtain DNR documents, bracelets and wallet cards in case a medical emergency occurs in a nonhospital setting. Some states offer DNR forms through their state departments of health. Family members cannot overturn the DNR wishes of a patient who already signed DNR forms.

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