Arguments in favour of family members being allowed into the resuscitation room

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Even when resuscitation attempts have been unsuccessful, family members are able to describe a number of benefits.

• Family members can witness the efforts of the resuscitation team which may dispel any doubts about how the patient died.

• Attendance can demystify the process of CPR, reduce misconceptions and prevent family members creating distorted images of the procedures involved.

• Relatives are able to touch, stroke and kiss the patient while their body is still warm.

• Family members have the opportunity to express their feelings of love, encouragement or whatever as there might be a faint chance that the patient will hear and/or be reassured that their loved ones are at the bedside.

• Family members gain a sense that they have a role in supporting the patient.

• Family members humanise the situation and the patient is viewed in a social context.

• Being present in the final moments is comforting for many relatives, promotes closure and enables them to start to grieve.

• Early psychological adjustment and reduced emotional distress may result if family members attend the resuscitation of a loved one.

• Closer relationships can be formed between the clinical staff and patient's family (Williams 2002).

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