Li-Phing Clarice Wee

Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, Singapore

Abstract

Objectives: Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR) orders have been used in hospitals worldwide for the past 30 years, but are still considered to be a challenging and difficult area of practice. Nurses being the frontline healthcare professionals should be involved during the decision-making process and are required to have good understanding of the DNAR order, in order to provide effective and efficient care. Our aim was to investigate: nurses’ involvement during decision-making process, level of understanding of issues surrounding DNAR orders; and how they perceive care for patients with DNAR orders.

Methods: A descriptive crossed sectional study design using electronic questionnaires was adopted for the study. The study was conducted among 400 nurses at a tertiary hospital in Singapore.

Results: This study showed that 44.5% of nurses reported physicians did not involve them in decisions for DNAR orders; only 8% felt that they should be involved in the decision-making process. Even if they did not agree with the order, 63.2% would still comply whilst 21% of them were willing to discuss this further with the treatment teams. Most agreed that antibiotics, intravenous fluids, oxygen therapy and artificial feeding were appropriate for patients with DNAR orders. Majority (57.1%) expressed uneasiness in discussing end of life issues with patients even in specialty areas.

Conclusion: Nurses should be encouraged to advocate for their patient and take part in the decision-making process. Communication between the medical team and nurses can be improved and there is an obvious need for further improvement in education and collaboration in this area.

Keywords:            Do Not Attempt resuscitation, End-of-Life, Withdrawal, Palliative Care

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