Perceptions of nurses and family relatives towards family witnessed resuscitation in critical care units of Kenyatta National Hospital and Aga Khan University Hospital
Background: Resuscitation is the restoration of vital signs by mechanical, physiological and pharmacological means in the event of an abrupt cessation of cardiac activity. Witnessed resuscitation is the process of active resuscitation in the presence of family relatives. However, should a patient require resuscitation, the family relatives are requested to wait in the visitors' waiting room as the resuscitation team attends to the patient. The family relatives therefore are sometimes left unaware of the sudden illness of their loved one and can be left in isolation in the event of their death. Main Objective: This was to describe the factors that determined the perceptions of nurses and family relatives towards family witnessed resuscitation. Methodology: This was a cross-sectional descriptive study carried out between May 2010 and April 2011. The study involved nurses and family relatives of patients admitted within the critical care units of Kenyatta National Hospital and Agakhan University Hospital. The respondents were selected via proportionate simple random sampling. The study involved 190 respondents, 109 of whom were critical care nurses while 81 were family relatives. Data collection was done via a semi- structured questionnaire; cleaning and analysis was done using Statistical Package of Social Sciences (SPSS) computer software program. Results: The study revealed that the relatives 67.90% (n=55) were more receptive to family witnessed resuscitation in comparison to 59.63% (n=65) of the nurses. There were varied perceptions towards implementation of the practice; however both groups of respondents; (83.49% (n=91) of nurses and 70.37% (n=64) of relatives) stated they would support it more strongly if a support staff would be present with the relatives during the process. Religion, specialization, years of experience and marital status were the factors that determined the nurses' perception towards family witnessed resuscitation; religion and specialization elicited a positive perception while marital status and years of experience elicited a negative perception. Age and occupation determined the relatives' perception and both elicited a positive perception. Conclusion: The relatives were found to be more in favor of witnessed resuscitation as opposed to the, nurses. There were no policy guidelines available regarding how to handle family relatives present during resuscitation. Recommendations: Further research is needed on the opinion of the patient regarding their families' presence during resuscitation. The perception of nurses in other areas of resuscitation for example in the Accident and Emergency departments needs to be explored as well as those of physicians working in these departments. There is also need to develop policy guidelines by the Ministry of Health, Professional Bodies and Organizations which are specific to the hospital setting.