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Should families be present during resuscitation attempts?

  • Comments (5)

Jaques H (2014) Family presence at resuscitation attempts. Nursing Times; 110, 10: 20-21.



“UK resuscitation guidelines suggest that parents and carers should be allowed to be present during a resuscitation attempt in hospital but no guidance is available regarding family presence when resuscitation takes place out of hospital.

“A new research study has suggested that relatives who were offered the opportunity to witness resuscitation were less likely to develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder than those who were not given the chance.

“This article summarises the results of this study and provides an expert commentary on its conclusions.”


What do you think?

  • Should families be present during resuscitation attempts?
  • Should children be allowed to be present?
  • What effect can witnessing an unsuccessful resuscitation have on a family member?
  • Can family members’ presence affect health professionals’ ability to do their job?
  • Comments (5)

Readers' comments (5)

  • Anonymous

    No not at all, in that situation the family will naturally be very upset and this would be distracting to staff trying to revive the relative, hence affecting their ability to do their job.

    Also resusitation can be a brutal thing especially on the frail and elderly, and hearing someones ribs crack is not pleasent at all. A child witnessing such a whing would be mentally scarring, in my opinion.

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  • Anonymous

    it is very individual and I gather sometimes family members are present. I don't think one can generally and categorically say yes or no but generally i agree with the above comment.

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  • tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 5-Mar-2014 7:21 am


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  • Families should be given the choice. Children, dependent on age(eg. under 10 and to be determined by policy) should not be allowed. Peoples opinions are just that, opinions and each is allowed their own however actual studies and evidence have proven the benefits to patient and family members being allowed to witness and be a part of the resus attempts and other invasive procedures. These medical studies have also proven the misconception that family members would be a distraction to medical staff and have rather shown the benefits to those staff at having family present. If you don't want to be present that's okay and fine and totally your choice. With the current issues affecting the medical society, traditional thoughts and processes need to be revisited and questioned to ensure healthcare in general is moving forward for the better.

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  • Anonymous

    One of the worst resuscitations I have seen was quite a number of years ago on a 49 year old man with Ca lung. His wife was present, and every compression pumped out frothy blood, a most distressing sight. Another was on my mother-in-law, when we were called to be told that she had arrested at home. The ambulance arrived just before I did, and everyone present expected me to attend to her too. She didn't pull through. This was in 1992, and I still have feelings of guilt, whether it is substantiated or not. I mostly agree with the first person who commented on here. The only thing I would add, is that it isn't just children it scars.

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