Transfer of DNR orders to the ED from extended care facilities

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Abstract

Purpose/objective

With an elderly and chronically ill patient population visiting the emergency department, it is important to know patients’ wishes regarding care preferences and advanced directives. Ohio law states DNR orders must be transported with the patient when they leave an extended care facility (ECF). We reviewed the charts of ECF patients to evaluate which patients presenting to the ED had their DNR status recognized by the physician and DNR orders that were made during their hospital stay.

Methods

We prospectively enrolled patients presenting from ECFs to the ED, blinding the treating team to the purpose. We did a chart review for the presence of a DNR form, demographic data and acknowledgement of the DNR forms.

Results

Fifty patients were enrolled in this study. The mean age was 77.6 years and 56% were female. Twenty-eight percent had a DNR order transported to the ED, but 68% had a DNR preference noted in their ECF notes. Registration only noted an advanced directive on 32% of patients (p = 0.09). Eighteen percent had a DNR noted by the ED physician (p = 0.42). Sixteen percent of patients had a DNR order written by an ED physician while 28% had a DNR order written by a non-ED physician during their inpatient evaluation. Thirty percent had a palliative care consult while in the hospital, but there was no significant association between DNR from the ECF and these consults.

Conclusions

Hospital staff did a poor job of noting DNR preferences and ECFs were inconsistent with sending Ohio DNR forms.

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