Family presence during CPR: a study of the experiences and opinions of Turkish critical care nurses

A Badir, D Sepit
International Journal of Nursing Studies 2007, 44 (1): 83-92

BACKGROUND: The concern over family witnessed cardiopulmonary resuscitation has been a frequent topic of debate in many countries.

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this descriptive study is determine the experiences and opinions of Turkish critical care nurses about family presence during cardiopulmonary resuscitation and to bring this topic into the critical care and the public limelight in Turkey.

METHODS: Study population consisted of critical care nursing staff at four hospitals affiliated with the Ministry of Health, three hospitals affiliated with universities and three hospitals affiliated with Social Security Agency Hospitals. A total of 409 eligible critical care nurses were surveyed using a questionnaire which is consisted of 43 items under 3 areas of inquiry.

RESULTS: None of the hospitals that participated in this study had a protocol or policy regarding family witnessed resuscitation. More than half of the sample population had no experience of family presence during cardiopulmonary resuscitation and none of the respondents had ever invited family members to the resuscitation room. A majority of the nurses did not agree that it was necessary for family members to be with their patient and did not want family members in resuscitation room. In addition, most of the nurses were concerned about the violation of patient confidentiality, had concerns that untrained family members would not understand CPR treatments, would consider them offensive and thereby argue with the resuscitation team. The nurses expressed their concern that witnessing resuscitation would cause long lasting adverse emotional effects on the family members.

CONCLUSION: This study reveals that critical care nurses in Turkey are not familiar with the concept of family presence during cardiopulmonary resuscitation. In view of the increasing evidence from international studies about the value of family presence during cardiopulmonary resuscitation we recommend educational program about this issue and policy changes are required within the hospitals to enhance critical care in Turkey.

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