itzhaki m., bar-tal y. & barnoy s. (2012) Reactions of staff members and lay people to family presence during resuscitation: the effect of visible bleeding, resuscitation outcome and gender. Journal of Advanced Nursing68(9), 1967–1977.
Aim. This article is a report on a study conducted to examine the views of healthcare professionals and lay people regarding the effect of family presence during resuscitation on both the staff performing the resuscitation and the relatives who witness it.
Background. Family presence during resuscitation is controversial. Although many professional groups in different countries have recently issued position statements about the practice and have recommended new policy moves, the Israel Ministry of Health has not issued guidelines on the matter.
Methods. Study design is factorial within–between subjects. Data were collected in Israel in 2008 from a convenience sample of 220 lay people and 201 healthcare staff (52 physicians and 149 nurses) using a questionnaire based on eight different resuscitation scenarios and manipulating blood involvement and resuscitations outcome. Data were analysed using one-way analysis of variance.
Findings. Overall, both staff and lay people perceived family presence during resuscitation negatively. Visible bleeding and an unsuccessful outcome significantly influenced both staff’s and lay people’s perceptions. Female physicians and nurses reacted more negatively to family presence than did male physicians and nurses; lay men responded more negatively than lay women.
Conclusions. Changing the current negative perceptions of family presence at resuscitation requires (a) establishing a new national policy, (b) educating healthcare staff to the benefits of the presence of close relatives and (c) training staff to support relatives who want to be present.