Last Updated: May 1, 2020
When you are a patient in a hospital, hospice, or nursing facility setting, your DNR Order should be on file and all health care providers apprised so that your wishes are followed. However, outside of a care facility, communicating your end-of-life decisions is even more complicated.
DNR Orders are, of course, only accessed outside a care facility during medical emergencies. First responders are trained to check the neck and both wrists for a medical ID, so many people choose to communicate their DNR decision by wearing a DNR medical alert bracelet.
If you decide to purchase a Do Not Resuscitate bracelet, be sure to:
There are a lot of different types of DNR bracelets and necklaces. You might choose a DNR band that’s made of simple silicone, a DNR necklace with an embellished pattern, or a custom DNR medical bracelet in stainless steel, leather, crystal, or metal.
Asked what he'd like to see engraved on medical alerts, Nicholas Yoncher EMT-P states, "Basic information (With DNR if there is an active and legal one on file) with critical info would be great."
The abbreviation DNR stands for Do Not Resuscitate. A DNR Order, therefore, is a written document from a physician. This document informs other health care providers of an individual’s desire to refuse life-saving treatments. An example of this is CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), which can include:
DNRs only address emergency resuscitation. They do not address things such as maintaining or discontinuing medication or nutrition. There are other legal documents for making one’s wishes known about these and other forms of health care.
Please note that laws and regulations vary by locality and facility. It is important to discuss the specifics of your DNR with your family or health care surrogate, doctor, and legal counsel. The intent of this article is not to provide medical or legal advice, but rather general information about DNRs and DNR Medical IDs.
Whether you choose a Do Not Resuscitate band or a necklace, it’s important to remember that wearing DNR jewelry is not a guarantee that it will be read and/or obeyed by a first responder or other medical provider. As stated above, laws and regulations vary by country, state, locality, and even by responding organization.
DNR wristbands and the like are helpful tools you can use to communicate your wishes and direct medical personnel to your written DNR Order, which you may want to carry on your person. Again, this is something to discuss with your family, care providers, and legal counsel.