Aim. This paper reports a study to determine the experiences and attitudes of Turkish critical care nurses concerning family presence during cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Background. The debate surrounding family-member presence in resuscitation areas has been evolving since the 1980s. The practice of performing resuscitation of adults in the presence of family members is controversial and has stimulated discussion and debate worldwide.
Design. A descriptive survey.
Method. The survey was carried out in 2007 with 135 critical care nurses from two university hospitals in İzmir. A structured questionnaire was used, which incorporated a series of attitude statements that were rated using a three-point Likert scale. The attitudes of the nurses were explored in three areas: decision making, processes and outcomes of resuscitation.
Results. Of the nurses, only 22·2% experienced a situation where family members were present during cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Most of these nurses (n = 20) had one or more negative experiences. The majority disagreed that family members should always be offered the opportunity to be with the patient during cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The most common concerns for not favouring family-witnessed resuscitation were reported as performance anxiety, fear of causing psychological trauma to family members and increased risk of litigation.
Conclusions. Many Turkish critical care nurses have no knowledge of family-witnessed resuscitation and do not support the practice. We suggest that Turkish critical care nurses should be informed by the international literature on the concept of family-witnessed resuscitation and the culturally appropriate policies concerning this subject should be changed in Turkish hospitals.
Relevance to clinical practice. Most critical care nurses in Turkey are not supportive of family-witnessed resuscitation. All critical care nurses should be informed by the international literature on the concept of family-witnessed resuscitation.