"Am I also going to die, doctor?" A systematic review of the impact of in-hospital patients witnessing a resuscitation of another patient
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Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications
Background: There is a growing interest in the impact of family-witnessed resuscitation. However, evidence about the effect of hospitalised patients witnessing other patients' resuscitations is limited. Aim: The aim of this systematic review is to explore the existing evidence related to the impact on patients who witness resuscitation attempts on other patients in hospital settings. Methods: The databases BNI, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE and PsycINFO were searched with the terms 'patient', 'inpatient', 'resuscitation', 'CPR', 'cardiopulmonary resuscitation' and 'witness'. The search strategy excluded the terms 'out-of-hospital', 'family' and 'relative'. The inclusion criteria were: studies related to patients exposed to a resuscitation attempt performed on another patient; quantitative and qualitative design; and physiological or psychological outcome measures. No limitations of date, language or settings were applied. Results: Five of the 540 identified studies were included: two observational studies with control groups and three qualitative studies with interviews and focus groups. Articles were published between 1968 and 2006 and were mostly rated to have a low quality of evidence. Quantitative results of the observational studies showed an increased heart rate in the study group witnessing a resuscitation (p = 0.05), increased systolic blood pressure (p < 0.01) and increased anxiety (p < 0.01). The qualitative studies highlighted the coping strategies adopted by exposed patients in response to witnessing resuscitation, including denial and dissociation. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that patients may find witnessing resuscitation to be a stressful experience. However, the evidence is sparse and mainly of poor quality. Further research is needed in order to better understand the impacts of patients witnessing a resuscitation of another patient and to identify effective support systems. © European Society of Cardiology 2017.
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