Witnessed resuscitation by relatives

Resuscitation. 2000 Feb;43(3):171-6. doi: 10.1016/s0300-9572(99)00147-1.


Witnessed resuscitation is the process of active 'medical' resuscitation in the presence of family members. Witnessed resuscitation though not as yet wide spread in practice is becoming established. Early reports of programs designed to promote such a process first appeared in the early 1980s. More recent work appears to show both public support and a desire for inclusion in the resuscitation process. Some research has been produced that indicates both satisfaction and psychological benefit for those relatives enabled to witness. Limited work only, exists pertaining to the effects on health care providers and these reports currently do not show any significant deleterious effects. Approval of witnessed resuscitation programs is not universal amongst all groups of health care workers. Concerns about the ethics of witnessed resuscitation and its medico-legal implications have been raised. The quality of the initial witnessed resuscitation reports is however variable and there is a great need for further work to validate the initial findings particularly in the areas of psychological stressors in staff and risk management implications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Ethics, Medical
  • Family* / psychology
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Legislation, Medical
  • Professional-Family Relations
  • Resuscitation* / psychology
  • Resuscitation* / trends