Level of agreement on resuscitation decisions among hospital specialists and barriers to documenting do not attempt resuscitation (DNAR) orders in ward patients

Sharon Micallef*, Markus B. Skrifvars, Michael J. A. Parr

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aim: This study assessed the level of agreement on CPR decisions among intensive care doctors and specialist physicians and surgeons, and the barriers to documenting do not attempt resuscitation (DNAR) orders for ward patients during Medical Emergency Team (MET) calls. Methods: We prospectively assessed all patients having MET calls for 11 months. If the intensive care doctor on the MET considered a DNAR order appropriate for the patient, the primary care clinician was contacted to: (1) confirm agreement or disagreement with a DNAR order and (2) give reasons as to why a DNAR order was not considered or documented prior to the MET call. Results: In the study period, the MET attended 1458 patients. A DNAR order was considered appropriate in 129 cases. In 116 (90%), the primary care clinician agreed with a DNAR order at the time of the MET. Common reasons given by primary care clinicians for not documenting DNAR orders included acute or unexpected deterioration (22.5%), awaiting family discussion (22.5%), actively treating the patient for a reversible condition (17.1%), not knowing the patient well enough (10.9%) and resuscitation status not yet discussed by team (10.9%). Conclusions: This study shows a high level of agreement on DNAR orders among intensive care doctors, physicians and surgeons for deteriorating ward patients. Barriers to timely documentation need to be addressed. Delay in documentation and communication of DNAR orders is common. The MET system provides an opportunity to identify patients for whom a DNAR order should be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)815-818
Number of pages4
JournalResuscitation
Volume82
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Do not resuscitate orders
  • Medical Emergency Team
  • Medical futility
  • Outcome
  • Quality of life
  • Resuscitation

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