Author: V.J.E. Westgeest

Assuring Do-Not-Resuscitate Statements for Frail Elderly

After a cardiac arrest, resuscitation is not always desirable: the chance of survival with a good quality of life is very low for the elderly aged >70 outside a medical institution. Every person has the right to decide whether to be resuscitated or not, and to record their decision in a Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) statement. The elderly can communicate their DNR statement either by a written statement or by wearing a DNR medallion. Despite these tools, people are unjustifiably resuscitated, resulting in emotional and financial burden. The goal of this project was to design a product that carries and transfers DNR statements between the physician, the patient, ambulance personnel and bystanders. The product matches the flow of the processes between these different stakeholders, and engenders a feeling of trust between healthcare professionals and the frail elderly.

The Heartbead system is designed to guarantee awareness of DNR statements of the frail elderly. The Heartbead, the main component, contains an RFID tag to record the DNR statement. The Heartbead can be attached to the emergency response necklace of the frail elderly, giving them a product that fits their daily lives. The monitor contains a reader and portrays the message that a Heartbead has been found, displaying the legally required information about the patient. Physicians are able to read the information from the Heartbead and record their decisions. At the checkpoint at the physician’s office, the frail elderly can check the information recorded on the Heartbead.