This topic, to some, is like dragging a reluctant dog to the vet. This is definitely an issue that is best considered and planned for. Recent media reports an 87-year-old resident in an assisted-living facility whose nurse “refused to give CPR.” Upon further investigation, this patient had previously told her family she didn’t want anything done if her heart stopped.
Is there a lesson we can learn?
Dying happens to all of us. I feel strongly that we need to talk about how this last chapter of our lives may play out. Talk to your physician and your family about end-of-life issues. What do you want done? If it is done and you are not recovering, when do you want care withdrawn? What do you NOT want done?
If you do not wish to have CPR performed, complete an advanced directive called a “do not resuscitate” (DNR). This will prevent resuscitation (chest compressions) that attempt to get the heart to beat again.
Take the first step. Decide who can make decisions for you, if you cannot speak for yourself in a health care situation. Fill out a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions (DPOA). Talk to this person about what you want done, how far to go and when to let go.
Kansas advanced directive forms are available at http://www.wichitamedicalresearch.org