Should family members be present during cardiopulmonary resuscitation? A review of the literature

Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2007 Aug-Sep;24(4):311-7. doi: 10.1177/1049909107304554.


During resuscitation, family members are often escorted out of the room for fear of immediate and long-term consequences to the family, the patient, and the physician. However, mounting evidence suggests that family presence during resuscitation could, in fact, be beneficial. The Emergency Nurses Association and the American Heart Association endorse family-witnessed resuscitation and the development of hospital policies to facilitate this process. However, the opinions on family-witnessed resuscitation vary widely, and few hospitals in the United States have developed formal policies on the presence of families during cardiopulmonary resuscitation. In this article, we review the current status of family-witnessed resuscitation and provide recommendations on the development of hospital policies for family-witnessed resuscitation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Confidentiality
  • Family / psychology*
  • Fear
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Personnel / education
  • Health Personnel / psychology
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Organizational Policy
  • Patient Advocacy / education
  • Patient Advocacy / psychology
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration
  • Patient Rights
  • Patients' Rooms / organization & administration
  • Professional-Family Relations
  • Research Design
  • Resuscitation / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • United States
  • Visitors to Patients / education
  • Visitors to Patients / psychology*