Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Order (DNACPR)

Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Order (DNACPR)

A DNACPR is a legal document which tells any medical team not to attempt CPR in the event of cardiac arrest or heart attack. You should be fully informed about CPR and its likely benefits to you. We strongly recommend that you discuss this with your healthcare team before completing such a form.

When there is some chance that CPR may bring someone back from cardiac arrest, and to a length and quality of life that they would want, they should be offered:

  • The chance to be given clear and accurate information about their condition and the likely risks and benefits from CPR if they should suffer cardiac arrest
  • The chance to express their beliefs and wishes.
  • The chance to make a shared decision with their health professionals on whether or not they should receive attempted CPR if they should suffer cardiac arrest.

The resulting ‘CPR decision’ would then be recorded either as a decision that attempted CPR would still be appropriate if they should suffer cardiac arrest or as a DNACPR decision.

When a person is dying from an advanced and irreversible condition, where CPR will not work and could cause harm, health professionals have to explain this. Such decisions are made to try to ensure that people receive the care that they need as they are dying. It also aims to make sure that people are not subjected to physical treatment that will deprive them of a dignified death.

However, there is every possibility that CPR could prolong a person’s life, that it could fail, or that it may cause harm. The likelihood of each of these possibilities will vary according to each person’s situation at the time. Each person will have their own view of whether they would or would not wish to have CPR in their individual circumstances. More information and forms should you decide to complete a DNACPR can be found here:

DNACPR Form Scotland

DNAPCR Factsheet

Decisions about Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)