Hi everyone! I am finishing up my ADN program and we just had to read our chapter on emergency medicine. I am especially interested in the ER, have always been, and I have an offer to work in the ER of a local hospital after graduation.
Most of the info we were responsible for self teaching out of the book because the instructor who was to teach the material became ill.
There was a small paragraph in my book advocating for family at the bedside during a code, as long as there was a nurse available to explain what was being done. The author felt that it helps the family to accept the situation, and facilitates the grieving process if the patient dies.
I was just wondering if this is done anywhere, and what your opinions are. And for those who do agree with it and/or have seen it done, how likely is it that there is a nurse available to explain procedures to the family member?
Thanks for your opinions!
May 1, '03
We allow families to be present for many of the codes in our CVICU. Exceptions are when we do an open sternotomy or when space is too crowded. In the latter case, the family is kept out temporarily until space opens up.
Often times a code is the last time a family can be with their loved one before death -- a very valuable experience for all parties.
I did my student research on this specific topic. I read one occasion when a man was coded and stated afterwords that during the code he was very much aware of his wife's presence and it was that feeling that made him want to continue to live. My feeling is that if this is truly the case for even a few patients, then families at the bedside are as important as defibrillation or epinephrine.
It also occurs to me that we do far too many codes on patients that are not good candidates for quality of life or survival. I have found that many times a family at the bedside during a code is a good way to have them stop a code that probably shouldn't have been started in the first place.
I should also make clear that we always have a nurse (usually the supervisor or manager) with the family to explain the process. Many of the sights and sounds can be very frightening.
These days with reality TV like "Trauma: Life in the ER" and even dramas like "ER", we have to realize that most people are familiar with the process of resucitation -- even if a bit naive about outcomes.
Last edit by JohnnyGage on May 1, '03