If you have a health crisis and you stop breathing, you believe that no more steps should be taken. You do not want the medical team to resuscitate you. Maybe you have religious reasons for thinking that this is a valuable position, or perhaps you just think that resuscitation is delaying the inevitable at that point, and you don’t want to put that burden on your family.
Regardless of why you’ve made this choice, if it’s something that you want, you could add a Do Not Resuscitate order (DNR) to your estate plan. If something unexpected happens, this plan will be referenced to help your family make medical decisions. Having a DNR on file helps your family members see that you have already made this choice in advance so that they don’t have to make it in real-time.
There are other options
One thing to note is that a DNR order only deals with resuscitation and nothing else. To this end, it is a very simple order, and it may not give you all the options that you’re looking for.
Another option would be to use a medical power of attorney to choose an agent to make your decisions. You can then tell this agent what your wishes are and let them decide if you should be resuscitated or not – or you can tell them that they get to make all other decisions, but you do not want them to allow for resuscitation in any circumstances. In some ways, using an agent is better than using a written order because it allows for greater flexibility during these unexpected times.
You do have options when creating your plan, so it’s important to know what they are and how to use them properly.