If your loved one is admitted to a hospital or extended care facility, the staff will try to help all patients whose hearts have stopped or who have stopped breathing. You can indicate with an advance directive form or by talking with your doctor that you don't want to have cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if your heart stops or if you stop breathing. In this case, your doctor puts a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order in your medical chart. DNR orders can be established prior to being hospitalized. Discuss your wishes about CPR with your doctor, either in the office or when admitted to the hospital. Doctors and hospitals in all states accept DNR orders.
The above DNR information applies when a patient may be admitted to a hospital or is already admitted to a hospital. One other important thing to consider is 'out-of-hospital' DNR orders. In some states, ambulance personnel are required to resuscitate any individual under their care during transportation of that individual to the hospital. Individuals can sign an agreement with their physician indicating that in the event they are transported by ambulance to the hospital, ambulance personnel are not to resuscitate them. If such an agreement is required in your state, it is important to discuss this with family and have the document (agreement) easily accessible. This does vary from state to state, individuals should check with their doctor, lawyer or state representative about the law in your state.