Decisions not to resuscitate in a Swedish university hospital

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) has the potential to save many lives. Used indiscriminately though, it may be harmful and not in the best interest of the patient. An advance directive to refrain from resuscitation in selected patients is probably not uncommon in Sweden, but guidelines ruling this are still generally lacking. This study was performed to evaluate the use and documentation of do-not-resuscitate orders in a Swedish university hospital. Methods: Adult inpatients at 7 medical, 3 surgical and 2 neurological wards, a total of 220, were investigated on one specific day by interviewing the physicians and nurses responsible for their care. Results: We found a discrepancy in doctors' and nurses' perception concerning the appropriateness of CPR in selected patients. CPR was judged by doctors to be inappropriate for 45 patients (20%). Out of these 45 patients, only 24 had a written do-not-resuscitate order in their medical record, in most cases noted as a code word or sign only. Rarely were the patient or his/her relatives involved in the decision-making process. Conclusion: We conclude that a decision to refrain from resuscitation is often not made, even when considered medically and ethically justifiable. Also, the use of coded information as a sole indicator for a patient not to be resuscitated is still common practice. The patient or his/her relatives are rarely involved in this decision.

Details

Authors
External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Keywords

  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, CPR, Do not resuscitate order, Ethics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1263-1266
Number of pages4
JournalActa Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica
Volume41
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1997 Jan 1
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes
Externally publishedYes