Palliative Care Program

CardioPulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)


Definition: An emergency procedure that restores and maintains breathing and circulation in a person whose heart has stopped beating.

Description: In the event that your heart stops while you are living in a nursing home and you want CPR, the staff would initiate CPR and call 911 for emergency transport to the hospital. CPR involves forceful compressions of the chest over the heart and mouth-to-mouth breathing until a tube is inserted in the windpipe. The tube is then connected to a breathing machine (ventilator), or a hand-held bag connected to a mask that is placed over the mouth and nose. CPR also involves giving medicines through your veins and electric shocks to your heart in attempt to restart the heart.

Benefits: Survival after CPR for persons living in a nursing home is approximately 10% if providers are with you when your heart stops. However, CPR is rarely successful (<3%) if staff or family member are not present when your heart stops and immediately able to start CPR.

Risks: When your heart stops, your breathing also stops and oxygen does not reach your brain. This may lead to brain damage and many other disabilities after only a few minutes. Forceful pumping on the chest will result in broken ribs, pain and possibly damage to your liver, spleen and lungs.


cprThis man is receiving CPR. The nurse is performing artificial breathing and the doctor is performing chest compressions.