Exploring the implementation of family-witnessed resuscitation
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Exploring the implementation of family-witnessed resuscitation

Jaskirran Breach Community staff nurse, Medway Community Healthcare, Rochester, Kent, England

Why you should read this article:
  • » To understand the ongoing debate about incorporating family-witnessed resuscitation (FWR) in practice

  • » To recognise the benefits of, and barriers to, implementing FWR during cardiopulmonary resuscitation

  • » To understand how multidisciplinary collaboration at an educational level, both nationally and globally, could lead to standardisation in FWR policies and guidance, which in turn could enhance family and person-centred care

Cardiac arrest is a traumatic event, both for patients and their family members. Traditionally, healthcare professionals have often been reluctant to offer family members the opportunity to witness cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) attempts. However, professional bodies globally have begun to recommend the use of family-witnessed resuscitation (FWR) during CPR, identifying a range of potential benefits including supporting the patient, increasing family members’ confidence in healthcare professionals and, in some cases, promoting acceptance of the patient’s death.

This article explores the benefits of, and barriers to, the implementation of FWR during CPR. Despite the perceived benefits of FWR identified by professional bodies, healthcare professionals, and patients and their families, the evidence indicates there is ongoing reluctance among some healthcare professionals to incorporate FWR in practice. Therefore, standardised global policies aimed at the multidisciplinary implementation of FWR are required. Additionally, multidisciplinary training and education in CPR should be readily available, particularly in areas where CPR is frequently used, such as emergency departments.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2018.e11003


Breach J (2018) Exploring the implementation of family-witnessed resuscitation. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2018.e11003

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

None declared

Published online: 27 March 2018

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