Many people believe that when they create an estate plan and sign an Advanced Health Care Directive document, they’re also signing a Do Not Resuscitate order, or DNR. However, a DNR is actually a health care document and is not provided by attorneys as part of an estate plan. This means that you won’t sign a DNR in an attorney’s office; instead, it will be signed with a doctor or in a hospital. An Advanced Health Care Directive can impact a DNR, and the documents are sometimes used together to make sure your health care wishes are fulfilled.
A DNR informs emergency medical professionals about the specific resuscitation methods you’d like to avoid, such as CPR, defibrillators, and breathing tubes and other invasive techniques. A DNR only comes into effect if your heart stops beating or if you stop breathing. An Advanced Health Care Directive is the document you’d need to give guidance on whether you’d like artificial feeding tubes or other devices meant to keep you alive indefinitely.
When signing a DNR or Advanced Health Care Directive, you should make sure your wishes concerning resuscitation are known to your loved ones, specifically your Health Care Agent. This will give your agent the knowledge necessary to carry out your wishes if you ever become incapacitated. When these documents are used in conjunction with each other, you’ll know that you’ll receive the type of care you want, and you will not leave your loved ones or health care providers guessing about your health care wishes.
DNRs are signed in doctor’s offices, hospitals, or care facilities after a terminal diagnosis and are almost always put in place for elderly patients when they enter nursing homes. Experienced California will and trust attorneys do not draft DNRs, but it is a good idea to consult with one to get all the information necessary about whether you should put a DNR in place. A will and trust lawyer can also help you be sure that your health care designation documents reflect the wishes put forth in your DNR so that they do not contradict your Advanced Health Care Directive.
If you would like to learn more about Advanced Health Care Directives and DNRs, or if you’d like to discuss your existing health care documents, please set up an appointment at our Encino estate planning law firm by calling (818) 905-6088.