Does your living will address do not resuscitate (DNR) concerns? Be careful, it may not.

Scott Strachan shares his do not resuscitate experience

Be sure your Living Will is honored.

Individuals who have put the thought and effort into developing a Living Will (including do not resuscitate orders) want to be sure their wishes are recognized and honored when the time comes. Therefore it is important to understand and know some state-specific concerns.

Abby Services experience with Living Wills

Scott Strachan is an RN and Administrator of Abby Services. He has seen firsthand the importance of do not resuscitate orders. He has also been a caregiver with Abby Services while working as a CNA. Scott attended Nursing School at Penn State University.

As an RN he has worked in a variety of settings throughout the country including Med-Surg, Hospice, Palliative Care, Oncology, Ortho, Medical ICU, Surgical ICU, Neuro ICU, Cardiac Rehab, and In-Home Care. He has even worked locally at Lee Memorial Hospital, Shell Point, and other facilities.

With such varied experiences, Scott has seen it all. However, he has focused on Senior Care for over the past 20 years. Because of his background in Hospice and Critical Care, Scott knows the importance of a sound Advance Directive that includes a Living Will, Power of Attorney, and (when desired) a Do Not Resuscitate order.

A common issue in Fort Myers and Cape Coral with Living Wills

Whenever meeting with a senior seeking in-home care one question Scott always asks is, “Do you have Advance Directives?” The answer is often a resounding “Yes”.

With many seniors in Lee County having multiple residences this can create challenges. That is because often their Living will was developed out of state.

Scott, as a nurse, does not profess to understand the ins and outs of elder law. He does know that because laws vary from state to state, many aspects of a senior’s affairs can be affected should they not have legal documents developed in the state they reside. Of particular concern are Do Not Resuscitate orders.

Often seniors falsely believe these have been addressed in their Advance Directives. While that may be so in other states, that is often not the case in Florida.

Why your Do Not Resuscitate order may not be honored in Florida

Your Do Not Resuscitate Order may not be honored in Florida if it was developed out of state. Florida has a specific separate form to address a client’s Do Not Resuscitate wishes.

This form must be signed by a patient’s physician and on the proper state accepted form, which is a canary yellow document.

Clients wishing to have this document honored are encouraged to have it posted in a conspicuous area like on the front door or a refrigerator.

Be sure your Do Not Resuscitate wishes are honored.

Many aspects of a senior’s affairs can be effected should they not have legal documents developed in the state they reside. Of particular concern are Do Not Resuscitate orders. Often seniors falsely believe these have been addressed in their Advance Directives. While that may be so in other states, that is often not the case in Florida.

An example Scott often likes to cite is that heaven forbid, he comes upon a patient who is unconscious. Without a clearly posted Do Not Resuscitate Order he will do what he is trained to do, which is to stabilize his patient, 911 would be called and, at that point, the whole intent and purpose of a Do Not Rescitate Order is moot. 

Scott says, “I don’t have time in an emergency situation to ask a spouse or family member to go search for a document” Therefore if it is not readily available it might as well not exist. If not readily available, or if not developed to Florida standards, a patients do not resuscitate wishes may not be honored.

Many seniors in Fort Myers and Cape Coral reside in multiple states. To understand the specifics of Florida, and to be sure your wishes are honored, we recommend a local Elder Law Attorney named Beth Prather. She has the knowledge and resources to be sure your wishes are honored.

In addition to a Do Not Resuscitate Order, an advance directive is also an important document to help guide your end-of-life care. This document is often completed by an Elder Law Attorney as part of estate planning but is free and easy to complete on your own. Just follow the link below.

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