CPR Directive information for Colorado citizens

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Colorado law allows individuals (also called “declarants”) to make their end-of life wishes known to others in documents called “advance directives.” The law does not require an individual to make advance directives. 

There are many types of advance directives. Living wills, medical durable powers of attorney, do not resuscitate orders, Five Wishes®, and others are example of methods allowed by Colorado law to document your end-of-life wishes. Your personal healthcare provider, attorney, estate planner or insurance agent may be able to help you make your end-of-life wishes known.

A Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Directive is also one type of advance directive. CPR directives instruct emergency medical services (EMS) personnel and health care providers about your wishes in the event your heart stops beating or you stop breathing. In accordance with the law, the Colorado Board of Health has adopted rules at 6 CCR 1015-2 that guide EMS personnel on what to do when they encounter a person whose heart has stopped or who has stopped breathing and whose end-of-life wishes have been expressed through a CPR directive.

Frequently asked questions:

What is CPR?
CPR is the abbreviation for “cardiopulmonary resuscitation.” CPR is a series of emergency steps provided to a person whose heart has stopped pumping blood (a condition known as cardiac arrest). These steps include, but are not limited to, rescue breathing (mouth-to-mouth resuscitation) and chest compressions. CPR may also include the use of electrical stimulation and medications given via the blood stream to stimulate the heart to begin to beat.

What is the purpose of a CPR directive?
A CPR directive tells EMS personnel or other healthcare providers that you are refusing CPR in the event your heart stops or you stop breathing.

How do I make a CPR directive and is there a specific form?
Colorado law allows a CPR directive to be a written document. A sample document or template that can be prepared as a CPR directive is available below. You can also write your own CPR directive. Many clinics, doctor’s offices, hospitals and commercial vendors have forms which can be used to document your wishes in the event you need CPR. You are not required to use one specific form. 

I want to make a CPR directive form that EMS personnel would recognize, where can I get one?
You can write your own CPR directive or have someone else help you write one. The Board of Health encourages you to use this template:

You can print this template, fill it out and use it as a CPR directive, or you can create your own document based on the information in the template. 

What information is important to be included on my CPR directive?
  • Full legal name.
  • Date of birth.
  • Gender.
  • Eye color. 
  • Hair color.
  • Race. 
  • The person’s instruction concerning the administration of CPR.
  • The signature of the person making the directive and the date it was made.
  • The signature of the person’s physician.
  • The signing physician’s name, address, telephone number and Colorado license number.
  • If in hospice, the name of the hospice program/provider.
  • Tissue donation information (optional).

Although the Board of Health recommends that CPR directives contain the information listed above, the Board of Health does not restrict any other manner in which a CPR directive may be made. The more information you include on your CPR directive, the more likely your wishes will be followed. 

I have seen bracelets and necklaces that say “No CPR.” Can I wear one of those?
Yes. A bracelet or necklace is allowed under the law. You may find companies that make these by performing a web search.

What instructions does my CPR directive need to include?
Your CPR directive should instruct EMS personnel, health care providers, and any other person what you want done if your heart or breathing stops or malfunctions. Your healthcare provider can help you decide what options you should consider based on your current health.  

Does a physician have to sign my CPR directive?
Yes. The physician you consulted about making your CPR directive must sign it. It doesn’t have to be notarized.