Background: Emergency Medical Services (EMS) are often involved in end-of-life circumstances, yet little is known about how EMS interfaces with advance directives to forego unwanted resuscitation (Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR)). We evaluated the frequency of these directives involved in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) and how they impact care.
Methods: We conducted a cohort investigation of adult, EMS-attended OHCA from January 1 to December 31, 2018 in King County, WA. DNAR status was ascertained from dispatch, EMS, and hospital records. Resuscitation was classified according to DNAR status: not initiated, initiated but ceased due to the DNAR, or full efforts.
Results: Of 3152 EMS-attended OHCA, 314 (9.9%) had a DNAR directive. DNAR was present more often among those for whom EMS did not attempt resuscitation compared to when EMS provided some resuscitation (13.2% [212/1611] vs 6.6% [101/1541], (p < 0.05).
Of those receiving resuscitation with a DNAR directive (n = 101), the DNAR was presented on average 6 min following EMS arrival. A total of 82% (n = 83) had EMS efforts ceased as a consequence of the DNAR while 18% (n = 18) received full efforts. Full-efforts compared to ceased-efforts were more likely to have a witnessed arrest (67% vs 36%), present with shockable rhythm (22% vs 6%), achieve spontaneous circulation by time of DNAR presentation (50% vs 4%), and have family contradict the DNAR (33% vs 0%) (p < 0.05 for each comparison).
Conclusions: Approximately 10% of EMS-attended OHCA involved DNAR. EMS typically fulfilled this end-of-life preference, though wishes were challenged by delayed directive presentation or contradictory family wishes.
INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVES: Decompensated cirrhosis carries high inpatient morbidity and mortality. Consequently, advance care planning is an integral aspect of medical care in this patient population. Our study aims to identify do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order utilization and demographic disparities in decompensated cirrhosis patients.
PATIENTS OR MATERIALS AND METHODS: Nationwide Inpatient Sample was used to extract the cohort of patients from January 1st, 2016 to December 31st, 2017, based on the most comprehensive and recent data. The first cohort included hospitalized patients with decompensated cirrhosis. The second cohort included patients with decompensated cirrhosis with at least one contraindication for liver transplantation.
RESULTS: A cohort of 585,859 decompensated cirrhosis patients was utilized. DNR orders were present in 14.2% of hospitalized patients. DNR utilization rate among patients with relative contraindication for liver transplantation was 15.0%. After adjusting for co-morbid conditions, disease severity, and inpatient mortality, African-American and Hispanic patient populations had significantly lower DNR utilization rates. There were regional, and hospital-level differences noted. Moreover, advanced age, advanced stage of decompensated cirrhosis, inpatient mortality, and relative contraindications for liver transplantation (metastatic neoplasms, dementia, alcohol misuse, severe cardiopulmonary disease, medical non-adherence) were independently associated with increased DNR utilization rates.
CONCLUSIONS: The rate of DNR utilization in patients with relative contraindications for liver transplantation was similar to patients without any relative contraindications. Moreover, there were significant demographic and hospital-level predictors of DNR utilization. This information can guide resource allocation in educating patients and their families regarding prognosis and outcome expectations.
The aim of this study was to determine nurses’ opinions on Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders. This is a descriptive study. A total of 1250 nurses participated in this study. The mean age of participants was 34.5 ± 7.7 years; 92.6% were women; 56.4% had bachelor’s degrees, and 28.8% were intensive care, oncology, or palliative care nurses. Most participants (94.3%) agreed that healthcare professionals involved in DNR decision-making processes should have ethical competence, while they were mostly undecided (43%) about the statement whether or not DNR should be legal. More than half the participants (60.2%) disagreed with the idea that DNR implementation causes an ethical dilemma. Participants’ opinions on DNR decisions significantly differed according to the number of years of employment and unit of duty. The results showed that most of the nurses had positive attitudes towards DNR orders despite it being illegal. Future studies are needed to better understand family members’ and decision makers’ perceptions of DNR orders for patients.
BACKGROUND: US hospitals typically provide a set of code status options that includes Full Code and Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) but often includes additional options. Although US hospitals differ in the design of code status options, this variation and its impacts have not been empirically studied.
DESIGN AND METHODS: Multi-institutional qualitative study at 7 US hospitals selected for variability in geographical location, type of institution and design of code status options. We triangulated across three data sources (policy documents, code status ordering menus and in-depth physician interviews) to characterise the code status options available at each hospital. Using inductive qualitative methods, we investigated design differences in hospital code status options and the perceived impacts of these differences.
RESULTS: The code status options at each hospital varied widely with regard to the number of code status options, the names and definitions of code status options, and the formatting and capabilities of code status ordering menus. DNR orders were named and defined differently at each hospital studied. We identified five key design characteristics that impact the function of a code status order. Each hospital's code status options were unique with respect to these characteristics, indicating that code status plays differing roles in each hospital. Physician participants perceived that the design of code status options shapes communication and decision-making practices about resuscitation and life-sustaining treatments, especially at the end of life. We identified four potential mechanisms through which this may occur: framing conversations, prompting decisions, shaping inferences and creating categories.
CONCLUSIONS: There are substantive differences in the design of hospital code status options that may contribute to known variability in end-of-life care and treatment intensity among US hospitals. Our framework can be used to design hospital code status options or evaluate their function.
Objective: Explore parents’ point of view about forgoing life sustaining treatment (LST) in terminal critically ill children and factors affecting their decisions.
Method: This was a qualitative study using in-depth interviews with parents whose child died between 6–12 months old in pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) of a university-affiliated teaching hospital. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed. Data were analyzed using interpretive description method.
Result: A total of 7 parents of 5 children decided to withhold or withdraw LST. Five parents from 4 children decided to sign the do not attempt resuscitation (DNAR), and none choose to withdrew the LST, including mechanical support. Factors influenced their decision were communication, value of children, child best interest, intuition, religious belief, and emotions. Economic factors did not influence the decision-making.
Conclusion: Most parents decided to sign the DNAR, none choose to withdrew mechanical support. Communication was the most important factor that influenced parents to make a forgoing LST decision.
An 87-year-old man with nonischemic cardiomyopathy, an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), and stage IV renal cell carcinoma presented to the emergency department with fever. On arrival, his temperature was 103 °F, his heart rate 120 beats per minute, and his blood pressure 80/56 mm Hg. His laboratory results were notable for a white blood cell count of 16 000/µL (to convert to ×109/L, multiply by 0.001) and urinalysis showing leukocyte esterase, nitrites, and bacteria. His condition initially improved with volume resuscitation and treatment with ceftriaxone and was admitted with sepsis presumed secondary to a urinary source. On admission, the patient reported that he had previously signed an out-of-hospital do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order and that he wanted to continue his DNR status while hospitalized.
Background: Palliative care is expanding as part of treatment, but remains underutilized in trauma settings. Palliative care consultations (PCC) have shown to reduce nonbeneficial, potentially inappropriate interventions (PII), as decision for their use should always be made in the context of both the patient's prognosis and the patient's goals of care.
Objective: To characterize trauma patients who received PCC and to analyze the effect of PCC and do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders on PII in severely injured patients.
Setting/Subjects: Retrospective cohort study of 864 patients admitted to two level 1 trauma centers: 432 patients who received PCC (PCC group) were compared with 432 propensity score match-controlled (MC group) patients who did not receive PCC.
Measurements: PCC in a consultative palliative care model, PII (including tracheostomy and percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy) rate and timing, DNR orders.
Results: PCC rate in trauma patients was 4.3%, with a 5.3-day average time to PCC. PII were done in 9.0% of PCC and 6.0% of MC patients (p = 0.09). In the PCC group, 74.1% of PII were done before PCC, and 25.9% after. PCC compared with MC patients had significantly higher mechanical ventilation (60.4% vs. 18.1%, p < 0.001) and assisted feeding requirements (14.1% vs. 6.7%, p < 0.001). We observed a statistically significant reduction in PII after PCC (p = 0.002). Significantly less PCC than MC patients had PII following DNR (26.3% vs. 100.0%, p = 0.035).
Conclusions: PCC reduced PII in severely injured trauma patients by factor of two. Since the majority of PII in PCC patients occurred before PCC, a more timely administration of PCC is recommended. To streamline goals of care, PCC should supplement or precede a DNR discussion.
Physicians have a responsibility to discuss do-not-resuscitate (DNR) decisions and end-of-life (EOL) care with patients and family members. The aim of this study was to explore the DNR and EOL care discussion experience among physicians in Taiwan. A qualitative study was conducted with 16 physicians recruited from the departments of hospice care, surgery, internal medicine, emergency, and the intensive care unit. The interview guidelines included their DNR experience and process and EOL care discussions, as well as their concerns, difficulties, or worries in discussions. Thematic analysis was used to analyze data. Four themes were identified. First, family members had multiple roles in the decision process. Second, the characteristics of the units, including time urgency and relationships with patients and family members, influenced physicians' work. Third, the process included preparation, exploration, information delivery, barrier solution, and execution. Fourth, physicians shared reflections on their ability and the conflicts between law, medical professionals, and the best interests of patients. Physicians must consider not only patients' but also family members' opinions and surmount several barriers in decision-making. They also experienced negative and positive impacts from these discussions.
Advance directives allow people to accept or decline medical interventions and to appoint surrogate decision makers if they become incapacitated. Living wills are written in ambiguous terms and require interpretation by clinical providers. Living wills cannot cover all conceivable end-of-life decisions. There is too much variability in clinical decision making to make an all-encompassing living will possible. While there are many limitations of advance directives, this article reviews some of the most troublesome ethical dilemmas with regard to advance directives.
This study aimed to determine the relationship between death and DNR attitudes among ICNs. This descriptive-analytical study was performed on 156 ICNs in 2018. All nurses were enrolled in the study; data collection instruments included Death Attitude Profile-Revised (DAP-R) and the DNR attitude questionnaires. The mean scores of DAP-R and DNR items were 150.89/ ± 23.59 and 91.82 ± 11.41, respectively. There was a significant relationship between death attitude and DNR attitude Famong ICNs. All dimensions of DAP-R significantly predicted attitude toward DNR (P < 0.05). Among those, “neutral acceptance” (1.17 [95% CI (0.68--1.65)] was the strongest predictor and “death avoidance” was the weakest predictor (0.36 [95% CI (0.09--0.62)]. There was a significant relationship between the ICNs' work experience and attitude toward DNR (p = 0.03). The findings can be used in formulation of the national guideline for DNR order.
INTRODUCTION: Do not resuscitate (DNR) decision making is an integral component of emergency medicine practice. There is a paucity of data, protocols and guidelines regarding the perceptions and barriers that are involved in the interactions among healthcare professionals, patients and their caregivers regarding DNR decision making. The aim of this study is, therefore, to explore the perceptions and factors influencing DNR decision making in the emergency department and to evaluate the use of a context-based protocol for DNR decision making.
METHODS AND ANALYSIS: This will be a sequential mixed method study beginning with qualitative research involving in-depth interviews (IDIs) with patient family members and focus group discussion with healthcare professionals. The consensual qualitative approach will be used to perform a thematic analysis to the point of saturation. The expected outcome will be to identify key themes that suggest perceptions and factors involved in DNR decision making. After piloting, the derived protocol will then be used with a different group of individuals (150 healthcare professionals) who meet the eligibility criteria in a quantitative cross-sectional study with universal sampling. Data will be analysed using NVIVO in the qualitative phase and SPSS V.19 in the quantitative phase. The study findings will support the development of a standardised protocol for DNR decision making for healthcare professionals in the emergency department.
ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The proposal was reviewed by the ethics review committee (ERC) of the institution (ERC # 2020-1551-7193). The project is an institution SEED grant recipient PF139/0719. The results will be disseminated among participants, patient communities and healthcare professionals in the institution through seminars, presentations, brochures and emails. The findings will be published in a highly accessed peer-reviewed medical journal and will be presented at international conferences.
Background: A Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order should only impede the performance of cardiopulmonary resuscitation in case of cardiac or respiratory arrest; it should not interfere with any other treatment decisions.
Aims: To study the impact of DNR order placement on daily clinical care of patients.
Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study of 72 patients in a tertiary care centre in Saudi Arabia. Daily clinical care measures were collected for 2 weeks prior and 2 weeks after DNR order placement and included vital signs, nursing care, comfort measures, documentation, visits by senior and junior physicians, and tests completed.
Results: Malignancy was the most common diagnostic category (43.1%). There was a significant reduction in vital signs documentation, tests completed, documentation, and visits by physicians after DNR orders, with no change in nursing care and comfort measures. No differences were seen for place of DNR order (intensive care unit vs medical ward), category of disease, or sex, but there were differences for documentation (more in females) and vital signs (more in males). More vital signs were documented and more tests were done in patients who survived compared to those who died. Regression analysis showed that the frequency of post-DNR order vital signs measurements and investigations done was not related to sex, age, diagnosis, time from admission to DNR order, or location of patients. Time to death was only related to sex and post-DNR order summary documentation.
Conclusions: Placement of DNR orders significantly reduced vital signs measurements, investigations done, documentation and visits by physicians but not nursing care and comfort measures.
This study aimed to elucidate the predictors and the effects of path modeling on the knowledge, attitude, and practice toward do-not-resuscitate (DNR) among the Taiwanese nursing staff. This study was a cross-sectional, descriptive design using stratified cluster sampling. We collected data on demographics, knowledge, attitude, and practice as measured by the DNR inventory (KAP-DNR), Mindful Attention Awareness Scale, General Self-Efficacy Scale, and Dispositional Resilience Scale. Participants were 194 nursing staff from a medical center in northern Taiwan in 2019. The results showed that participation in DNR signature and education related to palliative care were significant positive predictors of knowledge toward DNR. The DNR predictors toward attitude included DNR knowledge, mindfulness, self-efficacy, dispositional resilience, and religious belief of nurses. Generally, the critical predictors of DNR practice were DNR attitude, dispositional resilience, and male nurses. In path modeling, we identified that self-efficacy, dispositional resilience, master's degree, and religious belief directly influenced practice constituting DNR. Based on the findings of this study, we propose that nurses should improve their self-efficacy and dispositional resilience through training programs. Encouraging staff to undertake further education and have religious beliefs can enhance the practice of DNR and provide better end-of-life care.
BACKGROUND: Despite having high comorbidity rates and shortened life expectancy, patients with ESKD may harbor unrealistically optimistic expectations about their prognoses. Whether this affects resuscitation orders is unknown.
METHODS: To determine whether do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders differ among patients with ESKD compared with other critically ill patients, including those with diseases of other major organs, we investigated DNR orders on admission to intensive care units (ICUs) among 106,873 patients in the United States.
RESULTS: Major organ disease uniformly associated with increased risk of hospital mortality, particularly for cirrhosis (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 2.67; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 2.30 to 3.08), and ESKD (aOR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.31 to 1.65). Compared with critically ill patients without major organ disease, patients with stroke, cancer, heart failure, dementia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cirrhosis were statistically more likely to have a DNR order on ICU admission; those with ESKD were not. Findings were similar when comparing patients with a single organ disease with those without organ disease. The disconnect between prognosis and DNR use was most notable among Black patients, for whom ESKD (compared with no major organ disease) was associated with a 62% (aOR, 1.62; 95% CI, 1.27 to 2.04) higher odds of hospital mortality, but no appreciable difference in DNR utilization (aOR, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.66 to 1.62).
CONCLUSIONS: Unlike patients with diseases of other major organs, critically ill patients with ESKD were not more likely to have a DNR order than patients without ESKD. Whether this reflects a greater lack of advance care planning in the nephrology community, as well as a missed opportunity to minimize potentially needless patient suffering, requires further study.
Background: To investigate the use of do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders in patients hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) and the association with mortality.
Methods: We assembled a cohort of 1317 adults hospitalized with radiographically confirmed CAP in three Danish hospitals. Patients were grouped into no DNR order, early DNR order (=48 h after admission), and late DNR order (> 48 h after admission). We tested for associations between a DNR order and mortality using a cox proportional hazard model adjusted for patient and disease related factors.
Results: Among 1317 patients 177 (13%) patients received a DNR order: 107 (8%) early and 70 (5%) late, during admission. Patients with a DNR order were older (82 years vs. 70 years, p < 0.001), more frequently nursing home residents (41% vs. 6%, p < 0.001) and had more comorbidities (one or more comorbidities: 73% vs. 59%, p < 0.001). The 30-day mortality was 62% and 4% in patients with and without a DNR order, respectively. DNR orders were associated with increased risk of 30-day mortality after adjustment for age, nursing home residency and comorbidities. The association was modified by the CURB-65 score Hazard ratio (HR) 39.3 (95% CI 13.9–110.6), HR 24.0 (95% CI 11.9–48,3) and HR 9.4 (95% CI: 4.7–18.6) for CURB-65 score 0–1, 2 and 3–5, respectively.
Conclusion: In this representative Danish cohort, 13% of patients hospitalized with CAP received a DNR order. DNR orders were associated with higher mortality after adjustment for clinical risk factors. Thus, we encourage researcher to take DNR orders into account as potential confounder when reporting CAP associated mortality.
Background: To characterize patients dying in a community hospital with or without attempting cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and to describe patient involvement in, documentation of, and compliance with decisions on resuscitation (Do-not-attempt-to-resuscitate orders; DNAR).
Methods: ll patients who died in Kalmar County Hospital during January 1, 2016 until December 31, 2016 were included. All information from the patients’ electronic chart was analysed.
Results: Of 660 patients (mean age 77.7 ± 12.1 years; range 21–101; median 79; 321 (48.6%) female), 30 (4.5%) were pronounced dead in the emergency department after out-of-hospital CPR. Of the remaining 630 patients a DNAR order had been documented in 558 patients (88.6%). Seventy had no DNAR order and 2 an explicit order to do CPR. In 43 of these 70 patients CPR was unsuccessfully attempted while the remaining 27 patients died without attempting CPR. In 2 of 558 (0.36%) patients CPR was attempted despite a DNAR order in place. In 412 patients (73.8%) the DNAR order had not been discussed with neither patient nor family/friends. Moreover, in 75 cases (13.4%) neither patient nor family/friends were even informed about the decision on code status.
Conclusions: In general, a large percentage of patients in our study had a DNAR order in place (88.6%). However, 27 patients (4.3%) died without CPR attempt or DNAR order. DNAR orders had not been discussed with the patient/surrogate in almost three fourths of the patients. Further work has to be done to elucidate the barriers to discussions of CPR decisions with the patient.
BACKGROUND: In cancer care, do not resuscitate (DNR) orders are common in the terminal phase of the illness, which implies that the responsible physician in advance decides that in case of a cardiac arrest neither basic nor advanced Coronary Pulmonary Rescue should be performed. Swedish regulations prescribe that DNR decisions should be made by the responsible physician, preferably in co-operation with members of the team. If possible, the patient should consent, and significant others should be informed of the decision. Previous studies have shown that physicians and nurses can experience ethical dilemmas in relation to DNR decisions, but knowledge about what ethical reasoning they perform is lacking. Therefore, the aim was to describe and explore what ethical reasoning physicians and nurses apply in relation to DNR-decisions in oncology and hematology care.
METHODS: A qualitative, descriptive and explorative design was used, based on 287 free-text comments in a study-specific questionnaire, answered by 216 physicians and nurses working in 16 oncology and hematology wards in Sweden. Comments were given by 89 participants.
RESULTS: The participants applied a situation-based ethical reasoning in relation to DNR-decisions. The reasons given for this were both deontological and utilitarian in kind. Also, expressions of care ethics were found in the material. Universal rules or guidelines were seen as problematic. Concerning the importance of the subject, nurses to a higher extent underlined the importance of discussing DNR-situations, while physicians described DNR-decisions as over-investigated and not such a big issue in their daily work.
CONCLUSION: The study revealed that DNR-decisions in oncology and hematology care gave rise to ethical considerations. Important ethical values described by the participants were to avoid doing harm and to secure a peaceful and "natural" death with dignity for their dying patients. A preference for the expression "allow for natural death" instead of the traditional term "do not resuscitate" was found in the material.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders in the first 24 hours after intracerebral hemorrhage have been associated with an increased risk of early death. This relationship is less certain for ischemic stroke. We assessed the relation between treatment restrictions and mortality in patients with ischemic stroke and in patients with intracerebral hemorrhage. We focused on the timing of treatment restrictions after admission and the type of treatment restriction (DNR order versus more restrictive care).
METHODS: We retrospectively assessed demographic and clinical data, timing and type of treatment restrictions, and vital status at 3 months for 622 consecutive stroke patients primarily admitted to a Dutch university hospital. We used a Cox regression model, with adjustment for age, sex, comorbidities, and stroke type and severity.
RESULTS: Treatment restrictions were installed in 226 (36%) patients, more frequently after intracerebral hemorrhage (51%) than after ischemic stroke (32%). In 187 patients (83%), these were installed in the first 24 hours. Treatment restrictions installed within the first 24 hours after hospital admission and those installed later were independently associated with death at 90 days (adjusted hazard ratios, 5.41 [95% CI, 3.17-9.22] and 5.36 [95% CI, 2.20-13.05], respectively). Statistically significant associations were also found in patients with ischemic stroke and in patients with just an early DNR order. In those who died, the median time between a DNR order and death was 520 hours (interquartile range, 53-737).
CONCLUSIONS: The strong relation between treatment restrictions (including DNR orders) and death and the long median time between a DNR order and death suggest that this relation may, in part, be causal, possibly due to an overall lack of aggressive care.
Studies on end-of-life care reveal different practices regarding withholding and/or withdrawing life-sustaining treatments between countries and regions. Available data about physicians' practices regarding end-of-life care in ICUs in Egypt is scarce. This study aimed to investigate physicians' attitudes toward end-of-life care and the reported practice in adult ICUs in Ain Shams University Hospitals, Cairo, Egypt. 100 physicians currently working in several ICU settings in Ain Shams University Hospitals were included. A self-administered questionnaire was used for collection of data. Most of the participants agreed to implementation of "do not resuscitate" (DNR) orders and applying pre-written DNR orders (61% and 65% consecutively), while only 13% almost always/often order DNR for terminally-ill patients. 52% of the participants agreed to usefulness of limiting life-sustaining therapy in some cases, but they expressed fear of legal consequences. 47% found withholding life-sustaining treatment is more ethical than its withdrawal. 16% almost always/often withheld further active treatment but continued current ones while only 6% almost always/often withdrew active therapy for terminally-ill patients. The absence of legislation and guidelines for end-of-life care in ICUs at Ain Shams University Hospitals was the main influential factor for the dissociation between participants' attitudes and their practices. Therefore, development of a consensus for end-of-life care in ICUs in Egypt is mandatory. Also, training of physicians in ICUs on effective communication with patients' families and surrogates is important for planning of limitation of life-sustaining treatments.