Should Families Watch CPR in the Emergency Department?

The evidence behind the practice of Family-witnessed resuscitation (FWR) generally supports its use but within a specific set of circumstances. FWR may give patients’ family members one last moment to say good-bye and allow them to see the level of effort that went into the resuscitation. A designated supportive staff member (SSM) is important for a successful experience for families. The SSM should be trained and committed to the supportive process during resuscitative efforts. The SSM should initially communicate with family members prior to entering the resuscitation area. Family members should be given the option to be present and prepared for the visual and emotional stress of the clinical scenario. They should be instructed where to stand at the bedside to be close to their family member without interfering with the delivery of care. If there is uncertainty about crowd control or ability to function appropriately, it may not be appropriate for family to be present. Ideally, there should be a designated area that provides adequate seating for the family as well as a direct line of vision to the patient and the delivery of care. Family members should be allowed to leave and reenter the room if they become uncomfortable with the situation. The SSM should be solely dedicated to the family throughout the resuscitative efforts and should provide appropriate education and communication regarding clinical status and medical interventions.

Emergency Medicine Kenya Foundation