In the mix: Your thoughts on having family present during a code

Stressed Out Nurses Weekly, June 22, 2009

A past post to our Stressed Out Nurses blog by Chelsea Brancroft, RN, asked you if family members should be present during a code. During the past couple months, we've received a growing collection of thoughtful and interesting responses on the topic.

  • Many of you were concerned that family would experience severe trauma and hysteria from witnessing a code, while others said that there is no time to explain to family members what is happening, leaving them further distressed. Others even said that they have seen family members so hysterical they actually interfered with the code process.

  • Still, more of you agreed that this needs to be decided on a case-by-case basis. Many of you cited specific requirements to having family present, such as preparing the family in advance for a code, if possible, or ensuring that there is a staff member specifically assigned to be dedicated to the family during a code, helping them cope while explaining what is happening.

  • Finally, many of you felt that, after participating in codes in which family was present, it helped the grieving process and gave the family a sense that everything possible was done to save their loved one.

Add your comments to the debate here.

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