Current research on the efficacy of CPR in specific patient groups may lead to the withholding of CPR in groups that statistically show minimal success. Prognosticative factors that indicate minimal-at-best success with CPR include age greater than 70, dysrhythmias such as asystole and electromechanical dissociation, sepsis, metastatic cancer, GI hemorrhage, and acute stroke. Although physicians are under no legal or ethical obligation to provide futile treatments, how one defines a treatment as “futile” is unclear. As a patient advocate, the nurse acts to ensure the autonomous patient is fully informed, freely consenting, and actively directing his/her own health care. End-of-life decisions regarding health care must be based on the patient’s goals, which will be revealed through the moral discourse among health care professionals, patients, and their loved ones.

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