My mother has a DNR. If she has a stroke or heart attack, do I still call 911? - AgingCare.com

My mother has a DNR. If she has a stroke or heart attack, do I still call 911?

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She has advanced dementia, with minimal motor function. Do I still administer CPR? If I do and she revives, but then would require extraordinary measures to sustain her life, I'd never forgive myself for not honoring her wishes. She can speak, walk, and grasp simple instructions, but she's definitely slipping. In this situation, does someone simply watch a loved one die? It seems inhumane to me.

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I would not try to revive her. If she is old, you could break ribs trying to keep her heart working. I would call 911 so they could take her to the hospital. Have the DNR ready to show them. They will know what to do.

It is not inhumane to let someone die naturally. It can be more inhumane to try to keep them alive when they are suffering. It was a thought that I had when I had a rabbit that was suffering greatly. I realized that keeping him alive had become more about me than about him. I hope if I ever get to that point that whoever is in charge will let me cross over to the other side. Death is something that we all have to go through one day.
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Administering CPR is the opposite of what a DNR (do not resuscitate) means. Assuming your mom was of sound mind when she implemented the DNR, she does NOT want to be revived. My mom had a DNR and died at home. In my case, mom died while I was in the other room.

Have you considered bringing in hospice? They can help you get comfortable with the idea of her passing and give you help in understanding where she is in the process. I brought in hospice for my mom (she didn't have Alzheimers) but was definitely going downhill fast. She died one week after I started with them. They predicted the day she would die and I was able to spend the entire day with her from 10 AM until I found her at 11:35 PM. I had gone out to lie down and when I came back in, she was gone. She had been semi-comatose for several days. I got to talk to her, play music for her, hold her hand, and say what I needed to say in that final day.

I hope you can honor your mom's wishes and be comfortable with the idea that a peaceful passing (without doing CPR or calling 911) is a way to honor your mom and her wishes. Hugs...
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This was just discussed in another thread. The DNR is for emergency personnel and medical staff. It was mentioned in the other thread, by not calling 911 could be held against you too. A stroke is not always life threatening. The sooner you get the person to the hosptial the more likely they will survive. Same with a heart attack. What a DNR is for is that no extreme measures will be taken to keep them alive. Such as CPR if the heart stops or intubation. Putting in a feeding tube. Once they are in, very hard to have them taken out. I have a NJ one in my hand. It says:

Symptom Treatment only: For comfort only.
No artificial nutrition
Do Not resuscitate
Do not intubate

It comes down to if they stop breathing or heart is stopped then that's it. I think otherwise, you need to call 911. You should have the DNR ready for emergency personnel.
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A DNR does not mean, do CPR and a shock and if that doesn't work, stop. I ditto those that know a DNR means, "do not resuscitate"...do not do CPR on me....do not intubate me..... If that decision was made when someone was of sound mind, honor their wishes! Advanced alzheimer's with little motor function? honor her wishes. In my state, a DNR form is placed in a universal location (refrigerator) and if EMS (911) is called, they know to look for it there. If they see it, they will not encourage CPR. My husband has advanced Alzheimer's and ALS (losing motor function). He has a DNR so I understand what you are going through but again, I encourage you to honor her wishes, not try to second guess them.
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If you had "advanced dementia, with minimal motor function" and had signed a DNR , would you think it would be "Inhumane" for your children to honor your wishes?
Probably not!
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As a nurse, I can tell you that you need someone there to observe and to name the time of death, if your mom is dying but still alive, for example having a heart attack while you are watching. Also, the paramedics can give her pain meds or other treatments that are not life-prolonging to ease her way to heaven. If you would happen to find your mom already gone, I would still call 911 and tell them what has happened, the ambulance will not come, but the police will and possibly the coroner. Someone has to officially declare her dead, and then you can call the funeral home and they will come pick her up right from your house. If it an expected death, usually the police will let you call the funeral home and the coroner won't have to come. Every county can be different depending on what the coroner in that county prefers. As to performing CPR., if someone is a DNR, it is considered assault to do CPR! So don't and don't let anyone else, either. It's not like the movies or TV, where people have CPR and wake up fine, if your mom has a severe stroke or heart attack, you would probably be saving her to be a vegetable, and obviously she didn't want that or she wouldn't have made herself a DNR.
I agree with the previous comment about contacting Hospice to help you with this journey you are on with your mom. They can provide so much support and guidance for you and also caregiver respite so you can have some time to go do errands or other things while they are at your house taking care of your mom.
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No, a DNR does not mean you don't call 911, unless you are a trained medical professional you can't possibly know whether someone is stoking out or having a heart attack that isn't survivable or is suffering from some other ailment. And if she has a stroke etc and survives they will be better able to assess what her new limitations are and advise you about her care going forward, rather that you being stressed and without a concrete diagnosis.
Better yet is to see if she qualifies for hospice or palliative care services, which usually includes a 24/7 number to call for immediate assistance, as well as prepares the paperwork needed for an expected death in the home.
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I find it tough in my case because while mom has dnr - when she has been having chest pain or heart attack she calls 911 and later tells me how terrified she was and how she thought she was not going to make it and thank God I was there...so it is confusing at times even with a directive.
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Yes please call Hospice for an evaluation. You will be glad you did. If your mom is terminal then make her comfortable. Hospice will assist the family in helping them cope as well. Hospice helps your loved one's journey home with peace & dignity. 
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I faced same situation with my husband who had dementia, I was instructed to call 911 and relay DNR order to first responders
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