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Relatives concerned over 'do not resuscitate' questionnaire


Patients are being asked whether they would agree to a “do not resuscitate” (DNR) order by district nurses they have not met before, it has been claimed.

Health policy analyst Roy Lilley told the Daily Mail that the question was inappropriate, especially if asked by a healthcare visitor who has never met the patient before.

The NHS England scheme involves a questionnaire to be used by nurses visiting elderly patients at home.

Mr Lilley said he had been contacted by relatives of elderly patients with concerns about the form, including two that he said were asked over the phone.

“This question should only be used if appropriate and that would be wrong on a first visit”

NHS England

An NHS England spokeswoman confirmed the question is on the forms, but said it is not advised on a first visit.

“Nurses should always use their discretion and compassion when dealing with patients, especially on such sensitive issues,” said the spokeswoman.

“As the form says this question should only be used if appropriate and that would be wrong on a first visit.”

Mr Lilley told the newspaper his mother had been visited by a nurse with the form.

He said: “Elderly, frail but otherwise healthy people are being asked, by complete strangers, to sign a form agreeing they shouldn’t be resuscitated. It is outrageous.”

Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “These questions are usually only asked when the nurse has developed a good and meaningful relationship with the patient.

“It is truly extraordinary within a few minutes of meeting someone to ask them where they want to die and to sign a form. Nurses shouldn’t be put in that position,” he told the Mail.




Readers' comments (4)

  • How has this culture of unaiding elderly patients come to be normal? Have we entered a culture of death to lingering elderly people, rather than making their last years as happy as possible. Its discrimination against those who may need too much attention or are unprofitable to society. May God have mercy on us-no longer a caring profession-its an "early demise" profession. Shame on us for going along with this.

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  • This is a matter that I have been trying to raise for a while. It concerns not only elderly patients, but healthy young people with a normal life expectancy who just happen to have a physical or cognitive impairment. I feel so strongly about it (I have been asked 3 times by 3 different social workers, at our first meeting each time) that I have started an online petition about it. So far I have over 450 signatures. I would be delighted if you could publicise it so that more people can sign. You can find it here:

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  • michael stone

    The Mail seems to raise EoL issues, sometimes sensibly and at others not, but it is missing the 'subtlety' of EoL.

    The Tracey DNACPR court case, hinged on medics making DNACPR decisions without asking, or even informing, the patient. Currently there is serious doubt about whether an Advance Decision refusing CPR would be effective, especially for elderly people who are at home, because of the way clinicians 'interpet the rules' for ADRTs. And while asking people 'would you want us to try CPR or not ?' has to be handled sensitively, it definitely should be asked while CPR might still be 'clinically successful'.

    It is a somewhat different issue, for 'healthy young people with a normal life expectancy who just happen to have a physical or cognitive impairment' - and depending on what you mean by 'young' and 'cognitive impairment', it is probably a legally different situation, as well.

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  • Rosamond. Would like to sing and post on for others to sign your petition but cat get it up. Can you send it to my e-mail:-, asap

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