Do Not Resuscitate Orders at the Gym?

August 28, 2017 by Kayla Eggert

Imagine an elderly member came into your organization with an advanced directive stating that in the event of an emergency, they don't want to be resuscitated. Of course your first instinct would be the respect their wishes, however, is this the best course of action? Do organizations like YMCAs have to honor these types of requests?

pexels-photo-263402.jpegAny organization that has elderly members could be confronted with this issue. Elderly members could very well have a medical emergency on the premises so it would make sense for them to make their wishes known to staff. Advanced directives, however, are more applicable for patients to make their wishes known to their doctors or residents at assisted living facilities/nursing homes to let their caregivers know what end-of-life care is desired. YMCAs and other organizations aren’t obligated to follow these orders and probably shouldn’t, as these decisions should be left to medical professionals.

If an elderly member has a medical emergency at the organization, standard emergency procedures should be followed. Staff should provide care until emergency services arrive. Once first responders are on the scene, tell them the patient has a DNR order and the medical professionals can decide if care should continue. Staff should advise any member who tells them they have a DNR order that the policy is to respond to any emergency by providing care, and decisions about stopping life-saving efforts will be made by trained medical professionals.

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