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What to Consider When Setting Up a Do-Not-Resuscitate Order

 Posted on May 10, 2024 in Estate Planning and Probate

Wilson County estate planning lawyerWhen faced with the possibility of a serious medical emergency, you must consider your wishes regarding life-sustaining treatments. One aspect of this planning process is setting up a Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) order

This legal document instructs healthcare providers not to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or other life-sustaining measures if your heart stops beating or you stop breathing. While contemplating such a weighty decision can be emotionally challenging, it is a vital step in ensuring that your end-of-life preferences are respected and that you receive care aligned with your values and beliefs. A Texas lawyer can help you properly create your DNR order.

The Purpose of a DNR Order

A DNR order serves to honor an individual’s preferences regarding end-of-life care. It allows a person to express the desire to forgo invasive medical procedures that may prolong life but not necessarily improve its quality. By establishing a DNR order, individuals can ensure that wishes are respected and care that aligns with values and beliefs.

Discussing Your Wishes with Family and Healthcare Providers

One of the most important steps in setting up a DNR order is having open, honest, and compassionate conversations with your loved ones and healthcare providers. While discussing end-of-life care can be emotionally challenging, you should clearly communicate your wishes and reasoning behind the decision. Schedule a time to sit down with your family members, close friends, and healthcare team to express your desires and address any concerns or questions.

During these conversations, be patient and understanding, as some individuals may initially struggle with the concept of a DNR order. Remember, the goal of these discussions is to prevent confusion, disagreements, or unwanted medical interventions during a crisis. By investing time and effort into these conversations now, you can provide peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones, knowing that your wishes will be respected and upheld when it matters most.

Complying with Texas Law

In Texas, a DNR order must be signed by the individual or legal representative, such as a medical power of attorney or a legal guardian. A physician must also sign the order, confirming that the individual or representative has made an informed decision. Once the DNR order is signed, it must be included in the individual’s medical record to ensure that healthcare providers are aware of the individual’s wishes. Texas law recognizes two distinct types of DNR orders: an out-of-hospital DNR order and an in-hospital DNR order.

An out-of-hospital DNR order, also known as an Out-of-Hospital Do-Not-Resuscitate (OOH-DNR) order, is a legal document that instructs emergency medical personnel not to perform CPR or other life-sustaining measures in the event of a medical emergency outside of a hospital setting. This type of DNR order is suitable for individuals who wish to avoid resuscitation attempts by emergency responders, such as paramedics or firefighters.

In contrast, an in-hospital DNR order applies specifically to hospital settings and instructs healthcare providers within the hospital not to perform CPR or measures if the individual’s heart stops beating or breathing stops. This type of DNR order is appropriate for individuals currently hospitalized or anticipating future hospital stays.

Reviewing and Updating Your DNR Order

As life circumstances, personal beliefs, and medical conditions evolve, it is essential to periodically review and update your DNR order to ensure that it continues to reflect your current wishes. It is recommended to revisit your DNR order at least once a year or whenever a significant change in your health or personal situation occurs.

During this review process, take the time to reassess your preferences and consider whether any modifications to your DNR order are necessary. Your estate planning lawyer can guide you through the process of reviewing and modifying your DNR order, ensuring that any changes are legally valid and properly documented. The lawyer can also assist you in communicating these updates to relevant parties, such as family members and healthcare providers, to maintain transparency and ensure that everyone remains well-informed about your current end-of-life preferences.

Communicating Your DNR Order

Once your DNR order is established, inform all relevant parties of its existence and contents. This includes family members, close friends, healthcare providers, and other individuals involved in your care. Provide copies of your DNR order to your primary care physician, specialist doctors, and any healthcare facilities where you receive treatment. Ensure your DNR order is prominently displayed in your medical records and easily accessible to healthcare professionals. Consider carrying a copy of your DNR order with you at all times, such as in your wallet or purse, and inform your loved ones of its location.

Communicating your DNR order is not a one-time event. Regularly engage in conversations with your family, friends, and healthcare providers to keep them updated on any changes in your wishes and to reinforce the importance of respecting your end-of-life preferences. By prioritizing clear and consistent communication, you can have peace of mind knowing that your DNR order will be honored when it matters most.

Contact a Wilson County, TX Estate Planning Attorney

Establishing a Do-Not-Resuscitate order is a significant decision that requires careful consideration and planning. A Bexar County, TX estate planning lawyer can help create your DNR order to provide peace of mind. Call Geoff Mayfield, Attorney at Law at 210-535-0870 to start with a free consultation.

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