What is a DNR and how do I know if I need one? - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Senior Living

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What is a DNR and how do I know if I need one?

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Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 1:49 pm

A DNR, or a “Do Not Resuscitate” form, is a legal order signifying that a patient does not want to be resuscitated if he or she is to suffer cardiac or respiratory arrest. It tells emergency personnel that the patient does not want CPR, endotracheal intubation, defibrillation, cardiac life support drugs or related medical procedures. This does NOT withhold medical interventions necessary to provide comfort or to alleviate pain. You may recognize this order by its bright orange color, often found attached to the refrigerator in someone’s home. Typically, these orders are in effect for persons whom are terminally ill and prefer to avoid painful or invasive procedures at the latter stages of their life. It is important to have the DNR form easily locatable, as emergency personnel must see the form in order to honor it. DNR bracelets are also an option. These forms are available through various medical organizations or you can print your own. Contact me if you would like an electronic copy of the printable version or if you have any further questions about DNR forms.

We are looking into some of the assisted living centers in the area for my dad and are finding that the price range is well outside what he has coming in every month. What are our options when income is limited?

This is one of the first concerns families are faced with when taking the next step in moving a loved one. The monthly cost of living at a group home or assisted/independent living center can be a shock to the pocket book. When your loved one is in a very tight situation, consider the following options: ALTCS, which is Arizona’s Long Term Care System, is state financial aid for residents who are 65 and older, blind or disabled, and need long-term care. Generally speaking, an unmarried applicant’s monthly income must not exceed $2,130. This income limit increases for married applicants. Another option, and one that is largely overlooked, is a veteran’s benefit called Aid and Attendance. Aid and Attendance provides financial relief for many honorably discharged veterans and their spouses. Despite the fact that this benefit has been around for more than 60 years, only one-fourth of eligible veterans are actually using it. Both of these options have their own set of requirements, but both are worth looking in to. Each of these programs offers great financial relief for those in need and is making a big difference in quality of care seniors can afford. This is a good time to note, too, that each of Arizona’s counties offers emergency assistance for those in dire straits. These Community Action Programs, or CAP, offer various types of relief, some of which are specific to seniors. There are many national organizations that offer some temporary assistance, as well.

• Stacey Conkle is a longtime East Valley resident and community liaison working closely with seniors and their families during times of transition. Send questions and comments to Stacey@generationsofamerica.org.

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