Resuscitation and senility: a study of patients' opinions

Journal of Medical Ethics 19 (2):104-107 (1993)
In the context of 'Do-not-resuscitate' (DNR) decisions, there is a lack of information in the UK on the opinions of patients and prospective patients. Written anonymous responses to questionnaires issued to 322 out-patient subjects showed that 97 per cent would opt for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in their current state of health. In the hypothetical circumstance of having advanced senile dementia only 10 per cent would definitely want CPR, with 75 per cent preferring not to have CPR. There were no significant correlations between the responses and sex or age. Of 270 patients asked verbally if they found the questions disturbing, none said they did. These findings show that the great majority of patients would not wish CPR if severely senile, and that patients are not disturbed by questions relating to their choice for or against CPR. This should encourage further investigations of patients' opinions on CPR in a broader range of conditions, and greater use of DNR orders
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DOI 10.1136/jme.19.2.104
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