DNACPR –Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation

Once a patient/client has a life limiting illness it is important for healthcare professionals to discuss their wishes when they are approaching the end of their life. This includes the pros and cons of CPR to restart the heart if it stops. This can be a difficult and sometimes distressing topic for the patient/client and their family to think about.

Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation is a treatment that can be prolong life but it can also be very harmful, reducing quality of life significantly. Even in hospital, CPR is only successful in between 14% to 26%* of patients. Medical staff may discuss this treatment with the person if they believe it would be harmful to them with no benefit.

A Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) form will be completed by the doctor and added to the medical records. If you are caring for a person who has a DNACPR form you should be aware of this and act accordingly. If you have questions about why a person has a DNACPR form, speak to your line manager or a healthcare professional.

DNACPR does not mean “withdrawal of all treatment”. The patient/client will  receive other types of treatment which are beneficial. Every effort should be made to assist each patient /client to be as pain free as possible, to be as physically and mentally active as they are able and ensure good nutrition and hydration. 


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