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How a Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) Order Differs from Other Advance Directives

 Posted on March 05, 2020 in Estate Planning

Lombard family law attorneyAlso referred to in the state of Illinois as a POLST—practitioner orders for life-sustaining treatment—a do-not-resuscitate order can give you and your loved ones great peace of mind knowing your health wishes are officially documented should you be unable to make decisions about your own health matters. In the event of severe injury or illness, a DNR becomes a valuable advance directive document, so you may decide to include one when making your other estate planning arrangements.

How a DNR Is Different

Generally, federal law requires that every person admitted to a health care facility is informed of their to right to make an advance directive. The Patient Self-Determination Act requires not all, but many, providers to present information on advance directives to patients under their care. Unlike other advance directives, such as a power of attorney or living will, a do-not-resuscitate order exists to specifically address the use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) should your heart or breathing stop. Additionally, its purpose is to express your desires regarding any life-sustaining treatment.

While these wishes can be expressed in a living will, a DNR is an order that must be signed by both you and your practitioner. Its primary purpose is to decline resuscitation. A living will is a personal legal document used to convey this preference, as well as other healthcare wishes, such as your desire to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf. A living will is more involved and can be as detailed as you would like it to be. Similarly, a health care power of attorney is used to appoint an “agent” to make healthcare decisions for you on your behalf, and its use is very broad and flexible in terms of expressing your healthcare wishes.

Requirements of a DNR Order

To ensure you have a valid DNR order, you or your authorized legal representative (such as your health care surrogate, legal guardian, or health care power of attorney) must provide a signature. The order also requires a signature from your attending practitioner and a witness who is at least 18 years of age. Unless you provide all of the necessary signatures, your DNR/POLST order will not be entered into your medical record.

Each available advance directive offers certain benefits to those interested in making estate planning arrangements. It is up to you which directive you would like to pursue, and how in depth you prefer each document to be. Speak with a professional DuPage County wills and estate planning attorney today if you would like help determining which options are best for you. Call A. Traub & Associates at 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation.



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