This will always be an emotive area for everyone involved.No-one likes to think about dying but unfortunately it is inevitable for us all.In response to some previous comments, this isnt about killing, if your body has stopped its own heart then something is very wrong and you are clinically DEAD.The question then is whether performing CPR is appropriate or a futile effort.There are some clinical conditions ie an aortic aneurysm where the outcome is inevitable, would you really put someone thru the indignity of CPR when you know there is no hope? We owe people the right to have control over there own life and death and not presume as a medical profession or relative that we know better! Life is about quality and every individual will have their own view on what that means for them.None of us want to loose a loved one, but loving someone is respecting there wishes even if it means letting them go.There is nothing more heartbreaking than your relative saying 'I wish i hadnt survived' when they realise that there life has changed beyond all recognition.
I also think there is a lack of understanding in the medical profession regarding this, which causes unnecessary anxiety. I know of a case where someone signed a DNR after much dicussion with her GP and family, when she was admitted to hospital the consultant said the document wasnt valid in hospital and was asking her to consent again in a busy A+E department after just being in a diabetic hypo and sustaining multiple TIA's and wondered why she seemed unsure.If someone signs a DNR notice it needs to be a final decision, clearly more training is needed.
I have to say that I have been a nurse for 25 years, and my dad was recently in Burton hospital following a cardiac arrest and hypoxic brain injury. I was distressed and dissapointed with the "care" he received. I was hugely relieved when he was transferred to Derby. I am sure there are some pockets of good practice in Burton as with most organisations, but sadly I didnt see that during his long period as an inpatient. I came across 2 maybe 3 people who showed compassion, and out of the numerous people involved in his care in 6 weeks this was appalling. I can certainly see why they are in special measures.
I was left bitterly dissapointed by the lack of compassion and communication shown to my dad and us as a family after my dad suffered recent hypoxic brain injury. The care at Burton hospital was substandard and many areas of basic care were omitted. I felt the need to visit more often as I didnt feel he was being cared for in a safe environment. I have been a nurse for 25 years, and was made to feel very uncomfortable for asking anything, but as we were not being given any information and my dad could not communicate how else were we to know anything!Thankfully he is now in a specialist unit and the care is fantastic.