DNAR decisions – What the members survey told us

88 organisations filled in a snap shot survey in late April. They told us about Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR)  decisions during coronavirus for the people they support.

The survey found that approximately two thirds of the organisations replying did not report an increase in DNARs in 2020 for the people they support.

But some organisations said DNAR decisions had been made either on groups of people or on individuals without consultation with them, their loved ones or the people who support them. This was not in accordance with guidance and best practice, and in some cases could be illegal.

Despite the letter from senior NHS leaders to all NHS organisations  saying clearly that blanket use of DNARs are unacceptable and the statements from the Royal Colleges, regulator and sector bodies  repeating this, 13 member organisations reported that they had seen an increase in blanket DNARs in March and April.

Some DNAR decisions had been made without a person or their supporters being involved.

8 organisations had seen DNARs placed in people’s records without consultation in March, and despite the publicity and clear guidance, 10 reported this happening in April.

The Representative Body Co Chairs Wendy, Scott and Jordan said

“Decisions on people’s treatment being made based on them having a learning disability are never OK – even one is too many. We are pleased to hear there are examples of people and their supporters being positively involved but we want to see all lives valued and people not fearful of others writing them off”

Organisations had been able to help people get bad DNAR decisions changed.

We are clear that DNAR decisions can be the right thing for some people or situations. We do not want people to be afraid of thinking and talking about advance care planning and DNAR, or of making the choice that is right for them.

Learning Disability England is now working with some members on additional resources that can support people to challenge poor processes or unlawful use of DNARs.


Read The Full Report and Easy Read here

Read the Case Studies here 

Visit the DNAR resource section on our Hub here