Hundreds of patients subjected to unlawful do not resuscitate decisions, watchdog confirms

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Hundreds of elderly patients have been subjected to unlawful ‘do not resuscitate’ decisions that included blanket orders on care home residents, a watchdog has found.

In a review of the use of the controversial notices during the pandemic, the Care Quality Commission said it had uncovered evidence of patents not being involved in discussions and in some cases even being denied treatment.

Care home providers told the watchdog there were a total of 508 do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (DNACPR) decisions that had been put in place after 17 March last year without any discussion with the patient or their family. The CQC said a third, 180, of these orders were still in place in December.

It said this raised “serious concerns that individuals’ human rights – to be involved in DNACPR decisions about themselves or their families – were potentially being breached in more than 500 cases.”

There were also fears over widespread “blanket” do not resuscitate decisions being made on entire care homes and groups of disabled patients.

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