CPR. Yes or No

this is my favourite picture for the blog Caron Cares. It shows a glass heart in a hand.

What is CPR and when is it not beneficial ?

This doesn’t make for happy reading but it’s better to know so you can make informed decisions regarding a loved one’s care.

CPR stands for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. Cardiopulmonary arrest means that the heart has stopped beating and breathing stops. Sometimes

Sometimes, it is possible to restart the heart when emergency CPR is performed. CPR is not however used on everyone whose heart has stopped. The healthcare team WILL attempt it if there has been a serious injury or heart attack.

If the person’s heart has stopped as a natural and expected part of the dying process then there may be little or no benefit in reviving them each time their heart and subsequently breathing stop. This is especially the case if the person has other illnesses that are naturally going to shorten life. In such cases doing so may cause significant pain and prolong the suffering of a terminal illness.

What does CPR involve ? 

  • Electric shocks to correct the heart rhythm – look out for defibrillators in town centres and hospital wards.
  • Hard compression on the heart muscle via the chest, often breaking ribs and puncturing lung tissue.
  • “Mouth to mouth” resuscitation.
  • Artificial inflation of the lungs using a mask or tube  inserted into the windpipe.


Each person is different. A few patients make a full recovery, many don’t due to other medical conditions and how soon after the heart attack they are treated. Often those who are resuscitated are still very ill and require intensive care or coronary care admission. Some people sadly go into a coma or suffer brain damage.




Award-winning blogger and former care columnist for Devon Life magazine. I am passionate about helping elderly people and people with dementia live purposeful and independent lives.
Designer of the Dementia Assistance Card and Points Of Light award recipient, Caron hopes to help carers when resources are limited and demand is ever-increasing. I am here to support you.


  1. Do you have any objection to me adding your comment to the bottom of the post if it doesn’t already show there please ?

  2. You are very welcome, I think we need to accept that a good death is better than a painful survival with the chance of the same again. Death should be seen as natural (as it would have been before we had the access to such life-prolonging medical science) and still not a failure of medicine. Thank you so much for your professional input, most valuable indeed.

  3. Having worked for the Scottish Ambulance Service for 11 yrs I can confirm how unpleasant CPR is. When my own mother was seriously ill last year and doctors doubted her survival, my father, brother and myself were asked whether we wanted a DNAR (do not attempt resuscitation) in place. Having described how brutal it can be, that there is exposure of the breasts (ladies obviously), that ribs can be broken (sounds awful), vomit is brought up, and that it very often doesn’t work (failing in front of family members to save their loved ones was heartbreaking), the family decision was that in that situation CPR wasn’t to be attempted. Thankfully, Mum overcame that illness and is still with us, as much as someone suffering with Dementia can be, and the DNAR isn’t in place just now. Hopefully she will simply go in her sleep one night at some distant moment in time.
    Watching someone you love be the recipient of CPR is painful and should probably be discussed by families before the moment of need arrives as emotions, understandably, may cause the wrong decision simply because we cannot bear the idea of losing that wonderful person whom we love immeasurably.
    Thank you Caron for drawing this to the attention of your followers. xx

  4. Very interesting.
    We’ve already been told that it would not be in my father in laws best interest due to his health issues nor in the NHS interest due to costs that would be incurred if he were to survive.

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