Doctors To Offer All Patients Over 75 Do Not Resuscitate Order

NHS Guidelines Will See New End-Of-Life Plans For Over-75s And Younger Patients With Serious Conditions


NHS doctors are being told to offer all patients over 75 the option of a do not resuscitate (DNR) order, it has been revealed.

The new guidelines will also see DNRs offered to younger patients with serious conditions, such as cancer, dementia and heart disease.

Opinion on the new procedures is split, with the NHS saying the guidance will improve patients' end-of-life care, whereas some medical professionals have argued that it may frighten elderly patients.

Similar guidance on palliative care options that involved DNR orders, called the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP), was scrapped last year following resistance from certain sectors of the medical profession and media.

Professor Patrick Pullicino, who led a campaign against the LCP, said: "Trying to get someone to agree to a 'do not resuscitate' order before they are even sick - for somebody who is perfectly well, or has got a mild or not a serious illness - that would be totally out of place."

Expert Opinion
"The LCP was created and developed with the best possible intentions, but the concerns raised about its implementation and use by NHS Trusts could not be ignored.

"However, the introduction of this guidance also raises several key issues, with a specific one being the need to ensure that patients are asked about such issues in a caring and sensitive manner.

"In addition, families must always be involved in serious decisions regarding healthcare including decisions about do not resuscitate, as they are very often the best people to know exactly what the patient involved would want at such a critical stage of their life. While in so many situations patients and loved ones will agree with a plan of action, they should always be consulted."
Anne-Marie Irwin, Associate