Inappropriate use of DNRs during pandemic, CQC finds

  • Date: 03 December 2020

HEALTHCARE teams struggling to cope early in the coronavirus pandemic made “inappropriate” use of do not resuscitate orders, an interim report from the CQC has found.

The regulator reported evidence of "overwhelmed" care providers resorting to blanket application of DNACPR decisions – applying them to groups of people rather than assessing patients individually.

The CQC was commissioned by the Department for Health and Social Care to conduct a special review of DNACPR decisions taken during the Covid-19 pandemic. It came after concerns were raised about their use.

The investigation looked at all key sectors, including care homes, primary care and hospitals.

Amongst its key findings, the CQC said: "It is clear that there was confusion and miscommunication about the application of DNACPRs at the start of the pandemic, and a sense of providers being overwhelmed.

"There is evidence of unacceptable and inappropriate DNACPRs being made at the start of the pandemic."

It is possible that in some cases inappropriate DNACPRs remain in place, the interim report added, although there is no evidence to suggest it has continued as a widespread problem.

All care providers and local systems, the report said, would be expected to ensure that any discussions around DNACPR happen "as part of person-centred advance planning, and in accordance with legal requirements".

The final, detailed report into the issue is due to be published in February 2021.

Read the interim report on the CQC website.

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