Family-witnessed resuscitation: bereavement outcomes in an urban environment.

Link to article at PubMed

Family-witnessed resuscitation: bereavement outcomes in an urban environment.

J Palliat Med. 2011 Jun;14(6):715-21

Authors: Compton S, Levy P, Griffin M, Waselewsky D, Mango L, Zalenski R

BACKGROUND: After 20 years of debate regarding the appropriateness of family-witnessed resuscitations (FWR), little substantive data exist to suggest a benefit or harm to the family member.
OBJECTIVE: To compare bereavement-related depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms among cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) patients' family members who remain in the waiting room of an urban emergency department (ED) with those who are invited to witness CPR.
METHODS: A prospective comparison study was conducted at two large, urban, Midwestern teaching hospitals. Adult family members of nontraumatic CPR ?18 years of age patients were eligible. In the intervention hospital, emergency physicians were trained and encouraged to invite family members to witness CPR (FWR). At the control hospital, family remained in the ED waiting room (Non-FWR). Family members from each hospital were interviewed 30 and 60 days post-event regarding bereavement-related depression and PTSD symptoms. Relevant demographic information was also collected. Comparisons between FWR and Non-FWR were conducted using independent samples t tests and ?(2) where appropriate.
RESULTS: Sixty-five family members (24 FWR and 41 Non-FWR) were included. There were no differences between groups in relationship to the patient (35% spouse/significant other), mean age (overall, 56 years), or race (75% African American). Patients in each group did not differ in need for assistance in any activities of daily living (overall, 44% needed assistance) prior to cardiac arrest. However, more FWR were female (83% versus 59%), and had higher levels of overall social support available. There were no differences between FWR and Non-FWR on overall PTSD scores (11.7 versus 11.4; mean difference?=?0.3 [95 confidence interval (CI): -5.5; 6.1]) or depression scores (16.0 versus 20.6; mean difference?=?-4.5 [95CI: -12.0; 3.0]).
CONCLUSION: Bereavement related depression and PTSD symptoms are commonly seen in family members of cardiac arrest victims, however, the magnitude of the effect is not impacted by witnessing or not-witnessing CPR in the ED.

PMID: 21504307 [PubMed - in process]

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