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Document your loved one's medical wishes in case of emergency.


What You Should Know

You may have heard terms like DNR and POLST. Without these documents, medical staffers are required by law to do anything they can to keep a person alive — regardless of what that life may look like. A do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order tells medical staff not to revive a patient if heartbeat or breathing stops. A POLST (Physician Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment) is a more detailed version of the DNR.

A doctor is responsible for signing all these documents. Once you have them, make sure that they are readily available for emergency medical workers. Otherwise, your loved one’s wishes may not be honored. Many people tape theirs to the refrigerator. There are even bracelets and necklaces available for this purpose.

It's important to note that the DNR and POLST aren't replacements for a Living Will and Health Care Power of Attorney. For more information about these documents, see the Related Tasks section below.

Steps To Take

  • Talk with your loved one and their doctor about the need to create these documents.
  • Once the document is created, make sure it is displayed in an obvious place where emergency workers will see it.
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