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Attitudes of ED staff to the presence of family during cardiopulmonary resuscitation: a Trinidad and Tobago perspective
  1. Dhiyan Mahabir1,
  2. Ian Sammy2
  1. 1Emergency Department, San Fernando General Hospital, San Fernando, Trinidad, West Indies
  2. 2Department of Clinical Surgical Sciences, Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad, West Indies
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ian Sammy, Department of Clinical Surgical Sciences, Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad, West Indies; ian.a.sammy{at}


Introduction Patients' relatives have been allowed in the resuscitation room during active resuscitation in the UK since at least 1994. Several studies have indicated that relatives value the opportunity to observe the care provided, and this has been shown to help the grieving process. However, this enthusiasm has not always been shared by emergency department staff. In Trinidad and Tobago the concept of family presence in the resuscitation room is still a novel one. This study seeks to identify the attitudes of staff towards relatives in the resuscitation room in this setting.

Methods A cross-sectional survey of attitudes of staff towards family presence in the resuscitation room was undertaken. All full-time doctors and nurses practising in emergency departments in the public sector in Trinidad and Tobago were surveyed, and the responses of doctors and nurses were compared.

Results 214 individuals responded to the questionnaire (108 nurses and 106 doctors). 81.4% of respondents felt that relatives would be traumatised by witnessing resuscitation. 64% felt that staff performance would be inhibited by the presence of a family member during resuscitation. 71.1% believed that allowing a family member to witness resuscitation would prolong the resuscitation. 72% believed that witnessed resuscitation would increase the stress for the staff.

Conclusion Strong feelings against the presence of family members in the resuscitation room were expressed by physicians and nurses. Implementation of such a policy will require careful preparation and education of staff as to the benefits of this intervention.

  • Cardiac arrest
  • death/mortality
  • resuscitation
  • emergency department nursing
  • paediatric emergency med
  • clinical assessment
  • education
  • emergency department management
  • major trauma management
  • overdose

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  • An additional appendix is published online only. To view this file please visit the journal online (

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent This was a questionnaire to health care providers, which was anonymised at the point of data collection. No information on the respondents was collected that would have allowed identification of individuals. The purpose of the questionnaire was explained to each respondent in writing and verbally, and verbal consent was obtained from each respondent.

  • Ethics approval The ethics committee of the South West Regional Health Authority, San Fernando General Hospital.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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