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Mt Sinai J Med. 2008 Oct;75(5):460-5. doi: 10.1002/msj.20076.

Do not resuscitate does not mean do not treat: how palliative care and other modalities can help facilitate communication about goals of care in advanced illness.

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Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Adult Development, Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY, USA.


A do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order is commonly used for hospitalized patients with advanced illness. It reflects only the desires of a patient once he or she suffers a full cardiopulmonary arrest. It does not reflect preferences about other forms of life-sustaining treatments. This article reviews the definition of a DNR order, describes the evidence suggesting that physicians use a DNR order in making determinations about other life-sustaining treatments, and will provide tools such as the use of palliative care consultations and combined directives in discussing overall goals of care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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