The end of a loved one’s life brings numerous difficult decisions: how will the family pay for the medical expenses? Will you or a loved one receive care at home or in a medical-care facility? Who will make decisions once you or a loved one is incapacitated? If you or a loved one stops breathing, should a medical-care team attempt to revive you or a loved one?
The idea of a do not resuscitate (DNR) order can be daunting, but by understanding the process families can be more informed to make the decision together.
A DNR order means that cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) will not be attempted should a patient stop breathing or their heart stops beating. It does not imply that all care will stop. Other treatments — including antibiotic therapy, transfusions, dialysis, existing use of a ventilator — will still be provided to prolong life, and palliative care will always be given to keep the patient comfortable and pain-free.
CPR involves pushing on the chest down about 1.5 inches, 100 times a minute for several minutes, to create an artificial heartbeat and attempt to restore breathing by blowing into the patient’s mouth. In a hospital setting, a medical professional will insert a tube into the mouth and down the airway to help with artificial breathing, and electric shocks may be given to the heart to create the heartbeat. In some cases, a ventilator may be used to keep the artificial breathing going.
Performing CPR aims to restore or support function of the heart and lungs for your loved who has stopped breathing and does not have a pulse. The combination of chest compressions and mouth to mouth can circulate blood and oxygen throughout the body. CPR requires proper training before it can be practiced by any individual. It also has proven an increased in survival rate for the patient when given properly and immediately.
However, there are some side effects that comes from performing CPR. Chest compressions are painful and can break ribs, injure the liver and spleen, damage airways, cause internal bleeding, and in more extreme cases problems with breathing may occur and result to the deprivation of oxygen to the brain, which could cause brain damage or memory loss.
While effective CPR within the first few minutes of cardiac arrest can double, even triple, the chance of survival, CPR typically does not always restore breathing and heart function in those who have widespread infection, cancer, or other advanced stage illnesses. A recent study led by Diakonessenhuis hospital in Utrecht, the Netherlands, additionally found that of more than 400,000 hospitalized patients who underwent in-hospital CPR, only 40 percent were revived—and more than half of them died before they were discharged.
While the idea of a do not resuscitate (DNR) order can be daunting, understanding the process can help families make a more informed decision together.
Nothing is more important than maintaining your quality of life, especially in the face of an advanced-stage illness. Fifth Season Financial can help you in your financial planning process through the Funds for Living and Giving (FLAG) Program. If you or a loved one have a life insurance policy and are suffering from an advanced stage illness, the FLAG program will advance a payment on your life insurance policy while preserving funds for your beneficiaries in the future. To learn more about the FLAG program please don’t hesitate to fill-out a form online or contact us today at (866) 459-1271.
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