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Family presence during resuscitation

Highlighting the inconsistencies in practice having family members present during resuscitation.
Resuscitation

Despite being recommended by professional bodies, and expected by the public, the practice of having family members present during resuscitation (FPDR) remains inconsistent.

There is lack of clarity as to why clinical staff, in acute settings, choose not to support it. With sudden cardiac arrest being the leading cause of death worldwide, this Australian study identifies why clinical staff reject or adopt FPDR.

Using constructivist grounded theory methodology, interviews were conducted with health professionals, family members and patients who had undergone CPR.

Values and morals

The study highlights how clinicians own values affect their decision not to include the family, perhaps wishing to protect the family from unpleasant images.

Boundaries were created between family and event, requiring clinician approval before entry was sanctioned.

Researchers conclude that

...

Despite being recommended by professional bodies, and expected by the public, the practice of having family members present during resuscitation (FPDR) remains inconsistent.

Resuscitation
Inconsistencies remain with allowing family members to be present in resuscitation. Picture: iStock

There is lack of clarity as to why clinical staff, in acute settings, choose not to support it. With sudden cardiac arrest being the leading cause of death worldwide, this Australian study identifies why clinical staff reject or adopt FPDR.

Using constructivist grounded theory methodology, interviews were conducted with health professionals, family members and patients who had undergone CPR.

Values and morals

The study highlights how clinicians’ own values affect their decision not to include the family, perhaps wishing to protect the family from unpleasant images.

Boundaries were created between family and event, requiring clinician approval before entry was sanctioned.

Researchers conclude that the decision to enact FPDR is influenced primarily by the clinician’s personal values, expectations and experiences. There appears to be a desire to claim ownership of the patient, the space and the resuscitation act.

While the study reaffirms that both family and patients desire FPDR, it recommends that clinicians need far greater exposure to this practice through simulated resuscitation training. The challenges of enabling the process can be worked through, preparing staff to work confidently under family observation.


Giles T et al (2016) Factors influencing decision-making around family presence during resuscitation: a grounded theory study. Journal of Advanced Nursing 72, 11, 2706-2717

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