• attitudes;
  • cardiopulmonary resuscitation;
  • family presence;
  • family-witnessed resuscitation;
  • healthcare personnel;
  • integrative review;
  • nurses;
  • physicians



An integrative review of attitudes and experiences of healthcare professionals regarding family-witnessed resuscitation.


Allowing family members to be present during resuscitation has been a topic of debate in the last years. Increased focus on family centred care led to preparation of official statements concerning this phenomenon. While in some countries witnessed resuscitation is accepted and used, there are many places where it is not respected and remains controversial.


Integrative literature review.

Data sources

Databases: CINAHL, PsycINFO and PubMed.

Review methods

Cooper's five-stage integrative review method has been used. Results were limited to original publications in English, published between 2007–2012, describing nurses' and doctors' experiences and attitudes on inpatient family-witnessed resuscitation of an adult patient.


Fifteen articles were included. Healthcare professionals indicated different opinions on family-witnessed resuscitation. Perceptions vary in different cultural settings. There are both positive and negative effects of this practice on the family members and the rescue team. There is a lack of local guidelines.


Further research with larger sample sizes and different cultural settings would help identify outcomes following the family presence during resuscitation practice. Qualitative research is needed to examine the impact of those outcomes and develop policies and guidelines on cultural variability.