Covid-19: Report finds evidence of 'Do not resuscitate' orders without consent

Covid-19: Report finds evidence of 'Do not resuscitate' orders without consent

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has recently published a report on its findings relating to the use of "Do-Not-Attempt Resuscitation" (DNAR) Orders in care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A DNAR Order can be made by a Doctor or suitably qualified Nurse in consultation with the individual concerned and it allows the individual to state their wish not to be resuscitated in the event they require Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (commonly referred to as CPR).

Rather worryingly, the CQC has found that DNAR Orders had been wrongly allocated to some residents. In some cases, DNAR Orders had been put into place by medical professionals without consulting the individual concerned or their family. Perhaps even more worryingly the CQC's report found evidence of "blanket" DNAR Orders being applied to entire care homes and to anyone infected with COVID-19.

The CQC's interim report concludes that these practices may have caused "potentially avoidable deaths". In addition to this, these practices may have caused deaths in situations where the individual would have wanted to be resuscitated, meaning their wishes were not respected.

Situations like this are the stuff of nightmares but can be avoided through advanced legal planning. If you have wishes relating to medical care and emergency treatment, it is important to set these out in writing in a legally binding document so that your Doctor and loved ones are aware of your wishes in the event that you lose mental capacity and are unable to communicate your wishes yourself. This simple step can ensure your wishes are protected, providing peace of mind for you and your family.

Our expert team of Private Client lawyers provide clear, tailored advice to ensure that your care wishes are respected later on in your life. We can provide advice on the effect of, and assistance in the preparation of, the following documents:

Clapham & Collinge are accredited members of the Solicitors for the Elderly, meaning our lawyers are particularly skilled at responding to the needs of elderly clients. We understand the physical and mental difficulties which elderly clients can face and we are committed to ensuring that their dignity is respected in their later life.

If you would like to book an appointment with one of our specialist legal advisers, contact us on 01603 693500 or email us using the 'Make an enquiry' online form on our website. Appointments are available at our Norwich, North Walsham, and Sheringham offices.