OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether bereaved next of kin would like to have been present in the resuscitation room during attempted cardiopulmonary resuscitation of their relative, and their experience or knowledge of what is involved in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. METHODS: The next of kin of patients who had recently died after unsuccessful cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the accident and emergency department were contacted initially by telephone and then sent a postal questionnaire. RESULTS: Four (11%) of 35 respondents had been asked whether they wished to be present in the resuscitation room; 24 (69%) would like to have been offered the opportunity, even though not all would have accepted. The respondents had a wide variety of perceptions of what happens during resuscitation, few of which corresponded to clinical practice. CONCLUSIONS: Most relatives of patients requiring cardiopulmonary resuscitation would like to be offered the possibility of being in the resuscitation room; this could have several benefits.
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