It’s come to light that during the height of the COVID 19 pandemic many care Homes in the UK were ordered by the NHS to place ‘do not resuscitate (DNR)’ orders against all residents in their care and that half of these related to people with learning or cognitive impairments.
The Queen’s Nursing Institute found one in 10 care homes were told by the NHS to change resuscitation orders to DNR for patients and residents, without discussion with staff, the residents, or their famil.
Half of staff members who were told to change the orders, which were imposed in a bid to free up hospital beds, worked in homes taking care of people with learning or cognitive disabilities. The other 50% worked in elderly residential homes. Professor Alison Leary, an expert in healthcare and workforce modelling at London South Bank University who wrote the report, described the findings as ‘worrying’ and called for an inquiry. She added that the decisions were made by NHS managers and not clinicians.
Learning disability care provider Turning Point said it had received an ‘unprecedented’ number of ‘do not resuscitate’ forms from GPs, while a surgery in Somerset reportedly told adults with autism that they should sign such forms if they become seriously ill. Throughout the pandemic, concerns have been raised over the treatment of care home residents, especially those caring for people with learning or cognitive impairments.