Pros and Cons of Family Presence During Resuscitation of a Loved One

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Traditionally, when a patient arrests in a hospital the family is taken away from their beloved ones to a waiting room while life-saving measures are initiated. For many years family members were not allowed in the room during the resuscitation because healthcare workers thought family presence would interfere with the resuscitation process, but the approach towards family presence has improved in recent years. (Wacht, Dopelt, Snir & Davidovitch, 2010). Professional organizations and national guidelines recommend family presence (FP) during resuscitation, and interestingly only 5% of US hospitals have a written policy on the family presence concept and follow the guidelines according to the policy (Oman & Duran, 2010). Evidence based practice has initiated the action for health care systems to ensure best practice and improve patient care and outcomes (Nykiel, Denicke, Schneider, Jett, Denicke, Kunish, Sampson & Williams, 2011).

Family presence during resuscitation is a new concept and is controversial in many situations. Healthcare provider’s attitudes, especially physicians and nurses, regarding FP have been studied for years. Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) defines FP as “the presence of family in the patient care area, in a location that affords visual or physical contact with the patient during invasive procedures or resuscitation events” and the guidelines define “family members as individuals who are relatives or significant others with whom the patient shares an established relationship” (Oman & Duran, 2010).

One of the first documented FP events occurred in 1982 at Foote Hospital in Jackson, Michigan. This hospital began the FP practice after two families had requested FP during resuscitation attempts. A surv...

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...ider, R., Jett, K., Denicke, S., Kunish, K., Sampson, A., & Williams, J. (2011). Evidence-based practice and family presence: paving the path for bedside nurse scientists. JEN: Journal Of Emergency Nursing, 37(1), 9-16. .

Oman, K., & Duran, C. (2010). Health Care Providers' Evaluations of Family Presence During Resuscitation. JEN: Journal Of Emergency Nursing, 36(6), 524-533. doi:10.1016/j.jen.2010.06.014

Twibell, R., Siela, D., Riwitis, C., Wheatley, J., Riegle, T., Bousman, D., & ... Neal, A. (2008). Nurses' perceptions of their self-confidence and the benefits and risks of family presence during resuscitation. American Journal Of Critical Care, 17(2), 101-112.

Wacht, O., Dopelt, K., Snir, Y., & Davidovitch, N. (2010). Attitudes of emergency department staff toward family presence during resuscitation. The Israel Medical Association Journal , 12(6), 366-70.
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