CPR decision-making conversations in the UK

Hall CC, Lugton J, Spiller JA, et al | CPR decision-making conversations in the UK: an integrative review | BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care | Published Online  14 August 2018

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Abstract
Objectives: Do Not Attempt Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) discussions with patients and their caregivers have been subjected to intense ethical and legal debate in recent years. Legal cases and national guidelines have tried to clarify the best approach to DNACPR discussions; however, there is little evidence of how best to approach them from the patient, family or caregiver perspective. This paper describes published accounts of patient, family and caregiver experiences of discussions about advance cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) decision making.

Methods: An integrative review of the UK literature between 2000 and 2016 including qualitative and quantitative studies was conducted. Worldwide, 773 abstracts were identified, and 20 papers from the UK were included in the final analysis.

Results: Patient, family and caregivers prefer discussions to be initiated by someone trusted, and wishes for family involvement vary depending on the context. Timing of discussions should be individualised, though discussions earlier in the illness are often preferable. Discussions held in the acute setting are suboptimal. CPR decisions should be part of a wider discussion about future care and adequate communication skills training is important.

Conclusions: The findings of this review are at odds with the current statutory framework and potentially challenging for medical professionals who are working in a stretched health service, with pressure to discuss DNACPR decisions at the earliest opportunity. With increasing focus on person-centred care and realistic medicine, patient narratives must be considered by doctors and policy makers alike, to minimise harm.

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Marie Curie Research Conference Abstracts 2017

Selected abstracts from the conference:

  • 14 Managing uncertainty in care for people with dementia at the end of life: the use of heuristics

Do Not Attempt Resuscitation Orders(DNAR) and their contemporary counterparts are cornerstones of End of Life care and as such, of importance within medical education. Previous research indicates the need for a better understanding of patient and physicians perceptions of DNAR topics.

Davies, N. et al. (2017) 14 Managing uncertainty in care for people with dementia at the end of life: the use of heuristics. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care. Vol. 07 (Issue 03) p. A352.

  • 21 Exploring the effectiveness of a mindfulness-based intervention for staff in a palliative care setting

Palliative care staff engage in emotional and stressful work; however, research is yet to offer any insights as to what types of psychosocial intervention can effectively improve staff psychological well-being (Hill, Dempster, Donnelly, & McCorry, 2016). This research aims to evaluate the effectiveness of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention (MBI), which was condensed to make it more feasible for staff to attend, to improve the psychological well-being of palliative care staff.

Hill, R.C. et al. (2017) 21 Exploring the effectiveness of a mindfulness-based intervention for staff in a palliative care setting. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care. Vol. 07 (Issue 03) pp. A354-A355.

  • 28 Do not attempt resuscitation: university of aberdeen student perspectives

Do Not Attempt Resuscitation Orders(DNAR) and their contemporary counterparts are cornerstones of End of Life care and as such, of importance within medical education. Previous research indicates the need for a better understanding of patient and physicians perceptions of DNAR topics.

Koshias, A. et al. (2017) 28 Do not attempt resuscitation: university of aberdeen student perspectives. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care. Vol. 07 (Issue 03) pp. A357-A358

 

 

 

 

The impact of healthcare professionals’ personality and religious beliefs on the decisions to forego life sustaining treatments

The aim of this study was to assess the opinion of intensive care unit (ICU) personnel and the impact of their personality and religious beliefs on decisions to forego life-sustaining treatments (DFLSTs) | BMJ Open

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Results: The participation rate was 65.7%. Significant differences in DFLSTs between doctors and nurses were identified. 71.4% of doctors and 59.8% of nurses stated that the family was not properly informed about DFLST and the main reason was the family’s inability to understand medical details. 51% of doctors expressed fear of litigation and 47% of them declared that this concern influenced the information given to family and nursing staff. 7.5% of the nurses considered DFLSTs dangerous, criminal or illegal. Multivariate logistic regression identified that to be a nurse and to have a high neuroticism score were independent predictors for preferring the term ‘passive euthanasia’ over ‘futile care’ (OR 4.41, 95% CI 2.21 to 8.82, p<0.001, and OR 1.59, 95% CI 1.03 to 2.72, p<0.05, respectively). Furthermore, to be a nurse and to have a high-trust religious profile were related to unwillingness to withdraw mechanical ventilation. Fear of litigation and non-disclosure of the information to the family in case of DFLST were associated with a psychoticism personality trait (OR 2.45, 95% CI 1.25 to 4.80, p<0.05).

Conclusion: We demonstrate that fear of litigation is a major barrier to properly informing a patient’s relatives and nursing staff. Furthermore, aspects of personality and religious beliefs influence the attitudes of ICU personnel when making decisions to forego life-sustaining treatments.

Full reference: Ntantana, A, et al. (2017) The impact of healthcare professionals’ personality and religious beliefs on the decisions to forego life sustaining treatments: an observational, multicentre, cross-sectional study in Greek intensive care units. BMJ Open. 7:e013916.

Role of the community matron in advance care planning and ‘do not attempt CPR’ decision-making: a qualitative study

Kazmierski, M. and King, N. Role of the community matron in advance care planning and ‘do not attempt CPR’ decision-making: a qualitative study. British Journal of Community Nursing Vol 20 No 1 January 2015 p19–24


The community matron (CM) is often the key worker caring for patients with chronic, lifelimiting, long-term conditions, but these patients are not always recognised as palliative cases.

This study explored the experiences of CMs with regard to advance care planning (ACP) and ‘do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation’ (DNACPR) decision-making to understand whether or not they felt adequately prepared for this aspect of their role, and why.

Qualitative data were generated from six CMs using a broad interpretive phenomenological approach. Face-to-face recorded interviews were analysed using template analysis.

The study found that although participants faced complex ethical situations around ACP and DNACPR almost on a daily basis, none had received any formal training despite the emphasis on training in national and local guidelines. Participants often struggled to get their patients accepted on to the Gold Standards Framework. The research found variability and complexity of cases to be the main barriers to clear identification of the palliative phase.