TABLE 107 Giving Bad News Effectively

Many hospitals have policies requiring that family wait outside the area where resuscitation efforts are being conducted, but family presence during resuscitation efforts is increasing in popularity. Both positive and negative family responses can occur during resuscitation. 15 Family presence during an attempted resuscitation may enable family members to begin appropriate grieving earlier. No studies have shown that the long-term effects on family grieving are beneficial, however. Some family members may become distressed or exceedingly emotional while care is being given to a loved one. Worries by emergency department staff members about the family's critiques of the resuscitation, or the family's unwillingness to terminate efforts, also contribute to the desire not to have the family present during resuscitation. However, the desire to have family members present during a resuscitation is a holistic approach to patient care with both the family's and the patient's needs addressed simultaneously. In general, the resistance of emergency department staff members to the presence of family members during a resuscitation has been diminishing. Policies are being created to train emergency department staff on how to assist family members and what to expect when families are present during a resuscitation.

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