As an ED nurse with many years of experience, I can see both sides of the question "Should Families Be Present during Resuscitation?" (May 2007). Some nurses are concerned about litigation related to a family member witnessing a mistake or a bad outcome. To them, I say we all need to think of why we're here: patient care. We need to stop practicing medicine and nursing for the lawyers and bring our patients' needs (and their families' needs) back into focus.
An additional measure I'd suggest is to provide training for all employees in the ED, including ancillary and security staff, in scripting and care for the bereaved family member. In facilities that don't have a policy for family presence during resuscitation, nonclinical staff members may be the ones left to comfort the family. They do their best, but many haven't been prepared for the task. People don't need to be clinical experts to learn about providing support.
Nursing leaders need to address this issue head-on, hospital-wide. I submit that this needs to be a best practice, implemented immediately.
PATRICIA G. GOOCH, RN, BSN
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.