Sports First Responder Level 3 (VTQ)

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Advanced Decision and DNR CPR in Basic Life Support

Video 74 of 201
2 min 57 sec
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Respecting Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Orders in Emergency Care

This guide provides essential information about understanding and respecting DNR orders during resuscitation scenarios.

What are DNR Orders?

DNR orders are legal directives made by patients, often those with terminal illnesses, choosing not to undergo resuscitation efforts at the end of life. These decisions are made in consultation with medical professionals and family members.

Identification of DNR Orders

  • DNR orders are usually documented on a red form, signed by the patient, their GP, and nursing staff.
  • The patient's cognitive ability to make such a decision is crucial during the process.

Protocol for Healthcare Providers

Presence of DNR Orders During an Emergency

  • It is mandatory for a DNR order to be physically present and accessible during a cardiac arrest or at the time of death.
  • Family members should be able to present the DNR order to healthcare providers before resuscitation begins.

Actions in the Absence of DNR Orders

In cases where a DNR order is not readily available or there is uncertainty, healthcare providers have a duty of care to initiate resuscitation. Always verify the existence of a DNR order before ceasing resuscitation efforts.

Guidance for Responding to DNR Orders

Verification is Key

If informed about a DNR order verbally, request to see the document. If in doubt, proceed with resuscitation until further clarification is obtained.

Legal Protection for Rescuers

Attempting resuscitation in the absence of a DNR order is legally protected. It is better to err on the side of caution and begin resuscitation until qualified medical personnel arrive or until you receive official confirmation to stop.


DNR orders are vital in respecting the end-of-life wishes of patients. However, in emergency situations, always seek to confirm the presence of a DNR order before altering standard resuscitation procedures.

Learning Outcomes:
  • FPOS - Unit 2 LO2.6