Decisions about cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is a treatment involving chest compressions to try and restart the heart and breathing after they’ve stopped.

CPR helps in some situations but does not work for everyone. If decisions about CPR can be made in advance, everyone knows what to do. Your doctor or nurse will talk about CPR if they think a decision about this treatment is important for you. You can find out more about what CPR means for you by asking them. It’s a good idea to talk with people close to you as well. Talking about CPR helps people get better care.

Talking about CPR may be part of future care planning.

CPR does not work when a person is in very poor health, or is dying. In this situation, planning good care with the person and their family is the right thing to do.

CPR may work but can leave some people in much poorer health if they have some underlying health conditions. Everyone is different. What matters to you is important when you’re making decisions about CPR with your care team. They can talk with you about your health conditions and what might happen.

Some people choose not to have CPR even if it may work for them.

Do Not Attempt Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR)

If CPR will not work, or you do not want CPR, that decision is recorded. A DNACPR (Do Not Attempt Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation) record is filled in by a doctor or senior nurse. Your care team will talk about having a DNACPR record with you and your family (if you wish or if you are unable to talk about this yourself).

DNACPR records are used to share this information with other healthcare professionals so they know how to give you the right care.

A DNACPR record is only about CPR and not any other treatments. If you have a DNACPR record, all other treatments that can help you will still be started or continued.

Ask your doctor or nurse if you have any questions or worries about CPR decisions and DNACPR records. They can talk about your situation with you.

Read further information about cardiopulmonary resuscitation decisions

Last updated:
06 May 2024