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Resuscitation guidelines update: advance care plans the focus, not DNACPR notices

Includes section on ethics and considerations during a pandemic or shortage of resources

Includes section on ethics and considerations during a pandemic or shortage of resources, such as beds or ventilators

New resuscitation guidelines for nurses and other health professionals have been published, with an additional section on ethical practice.

The Resuscitation Council UK (RCUK) 2021 guidelines replace the 2015 version and reemphasise the role of nurses and other healthcare staff in supporting patients and their families in end of life discussions. The new ethics section also includes guidance related to pandemics and instances when there are

Includes section on ethics and considerations during a pandemic or shortage of resources, such as beds or ventilators

The Resuscitation Council UK’s new guidelines includes the importance of discussions with patients and their families on end-of-life care
The Resuscitation Council UK’s new guidelines include the importance of discussions with patients and their families on end of life care Picture: iStock

New resuscitation guidelines for nurses and other health professionals have been published, with an additional section on ethical practice.

The Resuscitation Council UK (RCUK) 2021 guidelines replace the 2015 version and reemphasise the role of nurses and other healthcare staff in supporting patients and their families in end of life discussions. The new ethics section also includes guidance related to pandemics and instances when there are shortages of resources, such as beds, ventilators and staff.

DNACPR notices during pandemic not the focus of guidelines update

RCUK director of clinical and service development and nurse Sue Hampshire said although concerns about decisions related to cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) during the COVID-19 pandemic had been highlighted recently, this was not the focus of the guidance update.

‘Our 2021 guidelines continue to highlight the importance of integrating decisions about CPR in overarching advance emergency care treatment plans, such as through the Recommended Summary Plan for Emergency Care and Treatment process.’

Encourage patients to have conversations about care

Ms Hampshire said the new ethics section is a welcome addition to the guidance. ‘It covers not just conversations and decision-making, but various matters arounds ethics that we need to be aware and mindful of when we are treating patients at a critical time for them. Nurses should be encouraging and having conversations about care with their patients before it’s needed.

‘There are some changes that will affect practice in whatever area of care you are involved in, across all age groups.’

RCN professional lead for acute, emergency and critical care Anna Crossley said even though nurses have faced unprecedented pressures over the past year, they have never compromised on patient care. ‘The new guidelines highlight the use of advance care plans and are explicit that decisions must be made on an individual basis – something the RCN, Nursing and Midwifery Conucil and General Medical Council are unanimous on.’


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Resuscitation Council UK (RCUK) Guidelines 2021


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