Developing a Decision Pathway for Family Presence During Resuscitation : Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing

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Developing a Decision Pathway for Family Presence During Resuscitation

Tennyson, Carolina Dimsdale DNP, ACNP-BC, AACC, CHSE; Oliver, John P. DMin, BCC, ACPE-CE; Jooste, Karen Roussel MD, MPH, FAAP

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Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing 42(3):p 163-170, 5/6 2023. | DOI: 10.1097/DCC.0000000000000577



The standard of care for family presence during resuscitation (FPDR) is evolving, and leading organizations collectively recommend establishing institutional policy for its practice. Although FPDR is supported at this single institution, the process was not standardized.


An interprofessional group authored a decision pathway to standardize the care of families during inpatient code blue events at one institution. The pathway was reviewed and applied in code blue simulation events to highlight the role of the family facilitator and the importance of interprofessional teamwork skills.


The decision pathway is a patient-centered algorithm that promotes safety and family autonomy. Pathway recommendations are shaped by current literature, expert consensus, and existing institutional regulations. An on-call chaplain responds to all code blue events as the family facilitator and conducts assessments and decision making per the pathway. Clinical considerations include patient prioritization, family safety, sterility, and team consensus. One year after implementation, staff felt that it positively affected patient and family care. The frequency of inpatient FPDR did not increase after implementation.


As a result of the decision pathway implementation, FPDR is consistently a safe and coordinated option for patients' family members.

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