Do-not-resuscitate discussions: a qualitative analysis

Fam Pract Res J. 1992 Jun;12(2):157-69.


The literature to date on Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) decision-making is based upon data derived from structured questionnaires, hypothetical scenarios, descriptive epidemiology, or simulated discussions. Lacking in the literature has been a critical examination of the health care professional-patient-family relationship and its impact on decision-making regarding resuscitation. The purpose of this study is to identify and describe organizational and communication factors that affect the process and outcome of DNR discussions and decision-making. Individual and focus-group interviews were conducted with sixteen key informants professionally knowledgeable about resuscitative issues. Thematic analysis of these interviews revealed that a variety of cultural and professional values, as well as previous personal experiences, influenced the assumptions that providers made when engaging in DNR decision-making. Specific recommendations are made to help family physicians identify communication strategies that foster understanding and lead to participatory decisions about resuscitation among patients and families.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Communication
  • Decision Making*
  • Ethics, Medical
  • Family
  • Humans
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Research
  • Resuscitation Orders*