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Attitudes of ED staff to the presence of family during cardiopulmonary resuscitation: a Trinidad and Tobago perspective


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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