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Care Quality Commission review finds that more than 500 people in the UK were put on "do-not-resuscitate" orders during the pandemic, without their consent

Thursday 18 March 2021

"From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were concerns that 'do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation' (DNACPR) decisions were being made without involving people, or their families and/or carers if so wished, and were being applied to groups of people, rather than taking into account each person's individual circumstances," said the CQC in its report. Out of 2,048 adult social care providers who responded to the CQC's information request, 5.2% (508 out of 9,679) of DNACPR decisions put in place since 17 March 2020 "had not been agreed in discussion with the person, their relative or carer". In one care home, everyone over 80 with dementia had a DNACPR order applied.

The report comes after the UK's Department of Health and Social Care requested a rapid review into the do-not-resuscitate decisions following "concerns that they were being inappropriately applied to groups of people without their knowledge." "Across the review process, whilst inspectors did find some examples of good practice, they also found a worrying picture of poor involvement of people using services, poor record keeping, and a lack of oversight and scrutiny of the decisions being made," the study found.

The CQC has called for government action to address a "worrying variation" in people's experiences of do-not-resuscitate decisions and "to take responsibility for delivering improvements in this vital and sensitive area." The CQC report can be read, here: