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‘Do not resuscitate’ decisions in continuing care psychiatric patients: what influences decisions?

  • Nandini Chakraborty (a1) and William J. Creaney (a1)
Abstract
Aims and Method

We evaluated the various aspects of ‘do not resuscitate’ (DNR) decisions taken for psychiatric continuing care patients within NHS Ayrshire and Arran. Records were reviewed and nursing staff were asked their opinions about DNR orders in general and the way these were implemented on their wards.

Results

There were 35 DNR orders among 88 continuing care patients in mental health wards for older adults. There were no DNR orders for the 25 continuing care patients in general adult psychiatry wards. Quality of life was the main issue when taking a DNR decision. Medical and nursing staff were involved in all decisions and the family in most. Patients were involved in only two cases. The documentation of the DNR order itself was satisfactory but documentation of the reasons behind the decision was inadequate. Patients with DNR status were perceived by ward staff to have more physical debilitation and more dependence on others. Local guidelines were being followed in most aspects, but these needed to be reviewed, as suggested within the resuscitation policy itself.

Clinical Implications

Decisions not to resuscitate may often be difficult to reach in psychiatric patients. Wards follow heterogeneous policies despite a resuscitation policy existing within the trust. Documentation needs to be improved and medical and nursing staff must reach a consensus regarding what constitutes quality of life and the appropriate time for a DNR decision.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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‘Do not resuscitate’ decisions in continuing care psychiatric patients: what influences decisions?

  • Nandini Chakraborty (a1) and William J. Creaney (a1)
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