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J Adv Nurs. 2015 Nov;71(11):2595-608. doi: 10.1111/jan.12736. Epub 2015 Jul 28.

Factors associated with experiences and attitudes of healthcare professionals towards family-witnessed resuscitation: a cross-sectional study.

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Department of Nursing Science, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland.
2nd Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Therapy, Medical University of Warsaw, Poland.
School of Nursing and Department of Neurological Surgery, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.



To examine factors associated with healthcare professionals' experiences and attitudes towards adult family-witnessed resuscitation in the emergency and intensive care units.


Family-witnessed resuscitation offers the option for patients' families to be present during in-hospital resuscitation. It is important to understand healthcare professionals' views about this practice to determine why, despite its benefits and general recommendation, this practice has not been widely implemented.


A descriptive, correlational, cross-sectional survey.


A total of 390 Finnish and Polish Registered Nurses and physicians from six university hospitals took part in the study. A structured questionnaire that examined nurses' and physicians' experiences and attitudes was used. Data, collected between July-December 2013, were analysed with descriptive statistics, logistic and multiple linear regression analyses.


The results indicated that healthcare professionals are not well experienced in family-witnessed resuscitation. The general attitude towards this practice is somewhat negative. Physicians seem more confident about overcoming process-related barriers than nurses. Having previous positive experiences of family-witnessed resuscitation was associated with a more positive attitude towards this practice. Consequently a previous negative experience was associated with more negative attitudes.


Family-witnessed resuscitation awareness should be increased in daily clinical practice. It is important to find a way to improve experiences and attitudes of healthcare professionals related to this phenomenon. Furthermore, developing local guidelines and multidisciplinary training plans is needed to respond to the needs of patients and their families.


adult patient; attitudes; cardiopulmonary resuscitation; experiences; family presence; family-witnessed resuscitation; healthcare professionals; nurses; physicians

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