HGH EMS Rescue, Hospice Partner to Place DNR Packets

Humboldt General HGH EMS Rescue and Humboldt Volunteer Hospice are collaborating to make sure area hospice patients get the best care possible.

HGH EMS Rescue recently donated DNR or "Do Not Resuscitate" magnetic packets to the non-profit organization.

Hospice volunteers will now distribute the red folders to hospice patients where they will be placed on patients' refrigerators for easy access by ambulance personnel.

"When we enter someone's home to provide help, we're not usually aware of that person's medical circumstances," said HGH EMS Rescue Chief Pat Songer, "so these packets will be very visible to us and we will immediately understand the end of life wishes of hospice patients."

Sherry Smith, Executive Director of the Humboldt Volunteer Hospice, said her group's partnership with EMS is an important one for providing personal, compassionate and dignity-based care.

"We want to honor the wishes of our patients," said Smith, "and these packets help us prepare and plan for and honor those wishes—and then let our emergency personnel know what has been decided."

A "Do Not Resuscitate" order, or DNR, is an order that instructs healthcare providers not to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if breathing stops or if the heart stops beating.

A DNR order allows a patient to choose before an emergency occurs whether he or she wants CPR. However, it is a decision only about CPR. It does not affect other treatments, such as pain medicine, medicines, or nutrition.

Once written, the order is inserted into the refrigerator packet where it can easily be seen and accessed by emergency personnel.

"Of course, even if a patient has a DNR order," explained Smith, "they always have the right to change their mind and request CPR if that time comes."

Songer said the packets will be a valuable addition to the way his crews serve the residents of Humboldt County.

"We want to provide our patients with the most personal care possible," he said, "and we're grateful for the opportunity to work with Humboldt Volunteer Hospice in furthering that mission."

For more information, please contact HGH EMS Rescue at (775) 623-5222, ext. 1365, or call the Humboldt Volunteer Hospice at (775) 625-4263.