The Impact of Education on Provider Attitudes Toward Family-Witnessed Resuscitation

Published:April 08, 2010DOI:


      The majority of acute care facilities have not developed policies or guidelines to facilitate family presence during cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Prior studies have shown that the personal beliefs and attitudes of hospital personnel involved in resuscitation efforts are the primary reasons family presence is not offered.


      This 2-phase, before/after study was conducted in a 388-bed academic trauma center, and in a 143-bed community hospital in eastern Washington State in 2008. In phase I, a convenience sample of physicians and registered nurses from both facilities were surveyed about their opinions and beliefs regarding family-witnessed resuscitation (FWR). Spearman’s rho and independent t-tests were used to compare support of FWR between and within roles and practice location subgroups. In phase II of the study, clinician subgroups in the community hospital were re-surveyed following an educational program that used evidence-based information. Independent t-test and one-way ANOVA were used to compare pre and post-education mean scores of subgroups on indicators of effective teaching strategies and improved FWR support.


      Opinions on FWR vary within and between practice roles and locations, with the strongest variable of support being prior experience with FWR. Following FWR education, mean scores improved for survey variables chosen as indicators of FWR support and teaching effectiveness.


      When CPR providers are presented with FWR education, their opinion-based beliefs may be modified, decreasing barriers to family witnessed resuscitation and improving overall support of FWR as an extension of family-centered care.


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      Lori M. Feagan is Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner, Spokane Internal Medicine, Spokane Valley, WA.


      Nancy J. Fisher is Clinical Educator, Valley Hospital and Medical Center, Spokane Valley, WA.