Predictors of public support for family presence during cardiopulmonary resuscitation: A population based study

Int J Nurs Stud. 2015 Jun;52(6):1064-70. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2015.03.004. Epub 2015 Mar 14.


Background: The debate on whether individuals want their family to be present during cardiopulmonary resuscitation continues to be a contentious issue, but there is little analysis of the predictors of the general public's opinion. The aim of this population based study was to identify factors that predict public support for having family present during cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Design: Data for this cross-sectional population based study were collected via computer-assisted-telephone-interviews of people (n=1208) residing in Central Queensland, Australia.

Results: Participants supported family members being present should their child (75%), an adult relative (52%) or they themselves (51%) require cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Reasons cited for not wanting to be present were; distraction for the medical team (30.4%), too distressing (30%) or not known/not considered the option (19%). Sex and prior exposure to being present during the resuscitation of adults and children were both predictors of support (p<0.05). Reasons for not wanting to be present differed significantly for males and females (p=0.001).

Conclusion: Individual support for being present during cardiopulmonary resuscitation varies according to; sex, prior exposure and if the family member who is being resuscitated is a family member, their child or the person themselves. A considerable proportion of the public have not considered nor planned for the option of being present during a cardiac arrest of an adult relative. Clinicians may find it useful to explain the experiences of other people who have been present when supporting families to make informed decisions about their involvement in emergency interventions.

Keywords: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation; Family presence; Witnessed resuscitation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance*
  • Queensland
  • Social Support*
  • Young Adult