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Resuscitation. 2006 Aug;70(2):223-8. Epub 2006 Jun 27.

Emergency medical service providers' experience with family presence during cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

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Wayne State University, Department of Emergency Medicine, 4201 St. Antoine, UHC-6G, Detroit, MI 48201, and William Beaumont Hospital, Department of Emergency Medicine, Royal Oak, United States.



To describe emergency medical service providers' experiences with family member presence during resuscitation, and to determine whether those experiences are similar within urban and suburban settings.


We conducted a personally distributed survey of a convenience sample of urban and suburban emergency medical service (EMS) providers presenting to two Midwestern Emergency Departments. Providers were questioned as to their experiences with resuscitating patients in the presence of family members.


There were 128 respondents to the survey (59 urban and 69 suburban), of which 70.1% were EMT-Paramedics. No provider who was approached refused participation. Nearly all (122) had performed CPR in the presence of family members, with most (77%) performing greater than 20. Subjects averaged 12.3 years of experience. The majority of urban and suburban providers felt it was inappropriate for family to witness resuscitations (75.9% versus 60.3%, respectively; p=0.068). Many providers reported feeling uncomfortable with family presence (31.5% urban versus 44.8% suburban; p=0.136), and few preferred that family witness the resuscitation (13.2% urban versus 15.4 suburban; p=0.738). A minority of providers believed that family were better prepared to accept the death of the patient (37.0% urban versus 37.6% suburban; p=0.939). Approximately half felt comfortable providing emotional support (66.0% urban versus 53.7% suburban; p=0.173). Many felt that family caused a negative impact during resuscitation (53.7% urban and 36.8% suburban; p=0.061). Urban providers more often reported feeling threatened by family members during resuscitation (66.7% versus 39.7%; p=0.003), and felt that family often interfered with their ability to perform resuscitations (35.6% versus 16.4%, p=0.014).


EMS providers have substantial experience with family witnessed resuscitations, are uncomfortable about their presence, and often must provide support for families. While urban providers tended to report more negative experiences and perceptions, there were minimal differences between the two groups.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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