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

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


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.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Communication*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Palliative Care* / organization & administration
  • Palliative Care* / standards
  • Professional-Family Relations
  • Quality of Life
  • Resuscitation Orders*