When a patient is no longer able to speak for themselves in the healthcare setting, the question is asked of the families whether they desire DNI/DNR (DO NOT RESUSCITATE/DO NOT INTUBATE. This topic is almost ‘taboo’ in some communities – especially with people of color and certain religions. I transcribed a report the other day where a physician asked the patient’s family member about how they wanted to care for their loved one as it related to the code status of DNR/DNI. The family emphatically stated that that was NEVER talked about in their culture. I thought, wow – THIS is what makes it really hard for doctors to treat patients! Some physicians, especially emergency room physicians, wear so many different hats when it comes to patient care. They already have tons of patients to see, have very crucial decisions to make at a moment’s notice – mainly for the critically ill , and they also have to play the role of patient advocate in critical decision-making when a patient’s healthcare proxy is not familiar with code statuses.
The code status DO NOT RESUSCITATE is a medical order signed by a physician, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant to give instructions to healthcare providers to not attempt CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). The DO NOT INTUBATE code status also is a medical order signed by a physician, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant to give instructions to healthcare providers to not attempt intubation or artificial ventilation in the event of respiratory distress.
You may ask, well what does this have to do with empowering your health? More than you know! It’s a very critical conversation that we ALL should have. A code status SHOULD at least be discussed among our families, attorney and/or healthcare proxies.
This DNR/DNI status is not for just for the elderly or permanently disabled people. You never know when a traumatic event may occur to anyone at any age. It’s enough having to contend with the trauma itself – we shouldn’t have the added burden of strife and confusion to go along with making decisions for a loved one’s wishes when they can no longer communicate.
In my job as a transcriptionist, I notice that doctors, on a daily basis, notate in their records where there’s discord among patient’s, their families with regards to this issue – all because we are not educated on the terms of a DNR/DNI status.
I too am with you in becoming better educated and aware of the need for at least a real conversation and taking action when it comes to DNI/DNR statuses. There’ so much on the internet regarding this topic and many handouts/pamphlets in your local physicians and/or public health offices regarding this, so let’s talk about it!