The new South Health Campus of Alberta Health Services has developed guidelines and is increasing the number of staff trained to take on a “family liaison” role at a moment’s notice, “so that whenever a code is called or whenever a patient gets into a trouble and is going through a resuscitation, the family can remain present,” said Joanne Ganton, manager of patient and family-centred care.
“The role of a family liaison is to assess the family — do they want the option? Some families may say, ‘No, get me out of here.’ Others may say, ‘Yes, I want to stay,’ ” Ms. Ganton said.
Children’s hospitals have long allowed parents to be present during resuscitation attempts, and numerous organizations, including the American Heart Association and the Canadian Association of Critical Care Nurses support giving all families the option. Shutting families out of the room denies them a chance “to face death with a loved one,” the nurses group says, and to say goodbye.
Many hospitals have begun informally including families in resuscitations on a case-by-case basis. “What we did here was put it into writing that this is something that we’re going to try to do as often as we can,” said Colin Del Castilho, an emergency physician at Calgary’s South Health Campus.
“You’re there so patients can feel your presence, your voice, your touch,” added Ms. Ganton, who will be presenting her hospital’s experience with family witnessed resuscitation at the 6th International Conference on Patient- and Family-Centre Care in Vancouver Thursday.
“Families are provided with constant information so they know what’s going on at all times.”
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