Purpose: Family presence (FP) during resuscitation is a controversial practice that leads to disagreement among health care professionals. A systematic review of the literature was performed to answer the question: What are the attitudes of health care providers regarding family presence during resuscitation of adults?
Methods: MEDLINE, PubMed, and CINAHL databases were searched using the following terms: family, family presence, family witnessed, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, nurses, personnel, patient, attitudes, attitude of health personnel, and ethics. Criteria for inclusion consisted of research studies addressing health care providers' attitudes toward family presence during adult resuscitation conducted in the United States that were published between 1998 and 2008.
Results: The literature search produced 480 titles. Thirteen full-text articles met criteria for inclusion in the evidence tables. Findings of this integrated literature indicate that: between and within discipline differences in attitudes, perceived burden on staff, perceived effects on family, lack of medical knowledge of family, and existence of a hospital policy influence provider attitudes toward FP.
Conclusions and Implications: More research is needed to determine if FP is evidence based; however, there is sufficient evidence to consider implementing FP. There is wide variation in support for FP among health care professionals, although nurses generally are more favorable. If an institution elects to implement an FP policy or evidence-based practice guideline, it must carefully consider the many provider, patient, family, and system-level factors that can hinder or promote the success of this initiative.