Aims: Effective communication enhances team building and is perceived to improve the quality of team performance. A recent publication from the Resuscitation Council (UK) has highlighted this fact and recommended that cardiac arrest team members make contact daily. We wished to identify how often members of this team communicate prior to a cardiopulmonary arrest.
Method: A questionnaire on cardiac arrest team composition, leadership, communication and debriefing was distributed nationally to Resuscitation Training Officers (RTOs) and their responses analysed.
Results: One hundred and thirty (55%) RTOs replied. Physicians and anaesthetists were the most prominent members of the team. The Medical Senior House Officer is usually nominated as the team leader. Eighty-seven centres (67%) have no communication between team members prior to attending a cardiopulmonary arrest. In 33%, communication occurs but is either informal or fortuitous. The RTOs felt that communication is important to enhance team dynamics and optimise task allocation. Only 7% achieve a formal debrief following a cardiac arrest.
Conclusion: Communication between members of the cardiac arrest team before and after a cardiac arrest is poor. Training and development of these skills may improve performance and should be prioritised. Team leadership does not necessarily reflect experience or training.