Information that needs to be shared with patients and families about CPR ….

Yesterday I posted about the importance of understanding words related to Assisted Suicide, CPR, Allow Natural Death, etc..

It is important to remember to share the necessary information BEFORE asking people to make decisions. When information is shared in a way that works for the family, then we can support them to make INFORMED decisions.

Regarding CPR, people need to know what the “success rate” is for people with their particular illness, and what performing CPR can do to the body. Sharon Kirky writes:

“For example, CPR, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, performed in a real world intensive care unit isn’t like the sanitized and “miracle recovery” versions depicted on TV. CPR can be almost violent and sometimes lead to broken ribs, punctured lungs and a high rate of stroke and serious brain injuries. The survival odds are slim. “The chance of being resuscitated when you’re terminally ill with cancer is like one in 100,000,” says Dr. Larry Librach, Sun Life Financial chair in bioethics and director of the Joint Centre for Bioethics at the University of Toronto.  The chance of making it out of hospital, he said, “is zero.”

Kirky’s information is really helpful.  In addition to this, is the reality that most people are not IN an intensive care unit when the procedure is performed, so the chances of survival are even less.

Patients may also want to consider the emotional cost of this aggressive act on their family and loved ones.  Rather than being able to companion the person through the last moments of their lives, they are required to alert the professionals, move aside, and share the death of their loved ones with strangers and technology.

People have researched the experience of loved ones who witness the attempt at CPR.  I have not read these recently.  I welcome comments from those who have been there, or done this research.

Kath

Kirky’s quote retrieved from:http://www.canada.com/health/Life+death+questions+Canadians+waiting+long+decide+life+treatment/7002753/story.html

2 thoughts on “Information that needs to be shared with patients and families about CPR ….

  1. Excellent post, Kath — information that people need,especially given the “sanitized” version we see on TV. I would also note that people with long-time chronic illnesses, which are not well managed by the medical profession, need to know that they will not resuscitated — and have to deal with further physical complications from the DNR/CPR that would make their chronic-illness lives unbearable.

    • That is one of the important issues that individuals with chronic illness need to know. More education for all health care professionals will ideally help people to make those difficult decisions as they near end of life. Thank you for highlighting this.

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