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Dilemma re my aunt and DNR request

(11 Posts)
Ormiriathomimus Tue 02-Apr-13 16:01:42

My auntie is 91. She has been hale and hearty until recently but now appears to be getting increasingly frail with heart and breathing problems. She lives near my parents about 20 miles from me. On Sunday we went to my parents house for lunch and she was there. H and I drove her home in the afternoon and when I went to help her into the house she asked me to come in for a quick chat. She told me that when it comes to the end she doesn't want to be resucitated. She wishes me to keep this to myself until the time comes and then tell my mum and her 4 sons. Problem is I am not neccessarily likely to be contacted when the time comes - I see her about once a month at my parents' but we aren't in regular contact. How can I ensure her wishes are respected?

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 02-Apr-13 16:11:13

Is there a medallion she could wear, the sort you can put medical details on? Sorry just a thought, don't know if such a thing exists.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Tue 02-Apr-13 16:13:17

She needs to formalise this somehow. You are not next of kin, so what you say may well not count for anything.

Gigondas Tue 02-Apr-13 16:13:50

Donkeys idea Is a good onehere

Also get something in writing in her Gp or hospital notes?

EnchantedBunny Tue 02-Apr-13 16:16:18

She needs to make an advanced directive, or living will. No time to give details I'm afraid but if you google it there is info on the nhs website.
Hope that helps.

LillyofWinchester Tue 02-Apr-13 16:16:40

I would get in contact with her GP surgery perhaps or suggest she does & get advice. Depending on the circumstances when the time comes there may not be time for a discussion about it anyway, unless there is something in writing from a doctor I expect any medics would err on the side of caution & resuscitate.

How would your mum take it if you broke her confidence & told her? Perhaps your mum could then engineer a conversation to get your Aunty to tell her herself?

Itchyandscratchy Tue 02-Apr-13 16:19:40

She can formalise this via her doctor and it can go on her notes. I understand why she doesn't want to start the conversation up yet as she probably (rightly) assumes her next of kin will get upset - we're very squeamish about this sort of thing really, which is a huge shame.

When my dad was admitted to hospital with suspected pneumonia it was so much easier knowing these were his wishes and that he wouldn't have to go through any needless additional suffering in the name of us not being able to accept it was what he wanted.

It gave him a dignified death 2 days later. Ideally, it would be good if you could persuade your aunt to discuss it with her next of kin but, failing that, her GP is next best thing.

Madratlady Tue 02-Apr-13 16:23:04

Her GP can put a DNR order in place. Your aunt will have a copy of the form which she should keep with her and take into hospital if she has to be admitted.

It's no good relying on verbal messages from you, it needs to be formalised as if someone goes into cardiac arrest they don't call the family for a conversation before attempting resuscitation!

Ormiriathomimus Tue 02-Apr-13 16:34:39


I will have to call her and tell her to speak to her GP. Not a conversation I want to have really. Other alternative is to speak to my dad - mum will get upset and probably angry that her sister didn't speak to her directly

Itchyandscratchy Tue 02-Apr-13 16:58:01

Exactly - that's why family can be so hard to discuss these things with. I do sympathise. See what you can do to help sort out the doctor's visit or her going there asap. Good luck - it's not easy but it's definitely the right thing.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 02-Apr-13 17:00:20

She wishes me to keep this to myself until the time comes and then tell my mum and her 4 sons.

Very sensitive issue but I'm afraid I don't think I would discuss this with anyone if she said that, she trusts you with this information.

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