Dutch elderly retain right of resuscitation

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Health inspection centre says Dutch elderly homes should not implement a non-resuscitation policy for cardiac-arrest residents.

25 August 2008

THE NETHERLANDS -- Dutch homes for elderly should not implement a non-resuscitation policy for its residents who may suffer cardiac arrest, the Dutch Health Care Inspection IGZ said in a statement to the press on Friday.

The IGZ also released its preliminary findings about the recent decision of the St. Pieters en Bloklands Home not to resuscitate its residents unless they have filled out a special form requesting resuscitation.

The IGZ said the Amersfoort home had acted properly in evaluating its resuscitation policy, but had not provided accurate information to its residents about the consequences of resuscitation.

The home had written a letter to its residents claiming resuscitation results in a significant drop in the quality of life for people over 70, especially if they already had multiple medical problems.

The letter caused a public uproar in the Netherlands and the leading coalition party Christian Democrats requested an investigation by the health care inspection.

IGZ said there was no scientific proof for the home's claim that resuscitation would lead to a reduced quality of life.

St. Pieters en Bloklands Home is the first home for the elderly in the Netherlands to announce publicly it would not resuscitate its residents in case of cardiac arrest.
Nursing homes in the Netherlands are authorised to determine their own resuscitation policy. Some homes do not resuscitate patients out of principle, while others always do.

The Amersfoort home has put its new non-resuscitation policy on hold pending further research by IGZ.

[dpa / Expatica]

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