There is little research about how patients and their families would like discussions surrounding resuscitation to take place. The purpose of this exploratory study was to investigate the experience of a discussion of resuscitation from the perspective of the participants. In-depth interviews were undertaken with 21 patients, of whom nine were interviewed together with a relative and 14 staff in an oncology setting. Data were analysed using a constant comparative method and coded using NVIVO qualitative data analysis software. Patients appeared to be accepting resuscitation discussions as necessary and important. A minority felt that the timing of the discussion could have been better, particularly if they were newly diagnosed or had recently commenced treatment. Relatives generally found the discussions more difficult and felt that discussions should take place much closer to death. Patients identified that they needed time and privacy during the discussion. Staff identified a need to present a sensitive and individualised discussion which took into account the key elements of timing, place, space, manner and pace. Patients acknowledged that the resuscitation discussion enabled them to begin to address issues relating to dying and end of life. For staff on-going communication skills training and support in this area were seen as important but often overlooked parts of the process.