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Sunday, January 21, 2018
HomeHealthCeteraDNR or AND?




On HealthCetera, we cover end of life issues a lot, believing that it’s an important topic that has suffered from a lack of public discussion. Let’s face it, people don’t like to think about dying, let alone talk about it. But we know that making informed choices about how you live and die can make all the difference in having a horrific versus a comfortable experience during our last transition in this life.

One area that seems to be particularly difficult for patients and families is whether to approve a “Do Not Resuscitate” or “DNR” order. Even when the patient may be at the end of life, family members may be reluctant to approve such orders, feeling that they are abandoning their loved one and fear withdrawal of care. Some healthcare organizations, particularly home care and hospices, are changing this language to “Allow a Natural Death” or “AND”. Instead of authorizing the withholding what may be a futile intervention, AND suggests that what is being authorized is support for a natural death. Is this a semantic difference of no merit?

A recent study found that the language that health professionals use to talk about DNR orders can make a difference in family members’ choices and their comfort with their choices. Today on HealthCetera Radio, producer and moderator Diana Mason interviews the study author, Dawn Fairlie, RN, PhD, professor of nursing at the College of Staten Island. They also suggest that people make sure they have advance directives to make their wishes known and to appoint a healthcare proxy to make decisions for them if they become unable to do so for themselves. Dr. Fairlie recommends a YouTube video on a decisional aid for whether to agree to CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) or not; and a “Five Wishes” guide to completing an advance directive.

So tune in on Thursday, April 6, 2017, at 1:00 for HealthCetera on WBAI, 99.5 FM in New York City and streaming online at Or you can listen or download the interview anytime by clicking here:

Written by

Diana is a co-director of the GW Nursing Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement and founder of HealthCetera. She was previously president of the American Academy of Nursing. She is senior policy professor at George Washington University and the Rudin Professor of Nursing at Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing. She is a health policy expert and leader. Diana tweets @djmasonrn.

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