Family presence during cardiopulmonary resuscitation in acute care is not widespread. Patients are not likely to be asked about their wishes for family presence or if they wish to be the decision makers about who should be present.


To explore the perceptions of patients on general medical units and to find factors independently associated with family presence during cardiopulmonary resuscitation.


A cross-sectional study of 117 randomly selected adult patients was conducted at an academic medical center. Participants were interviewed via a survey to obtain information on demographics, knowledge of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, sources of information on resuscitation, and preferences for family presence.


About half of the participants agreed or strongly agreed that family presence during cardiopulmonary resuscitation was important (52.1%), that the participant should be the decision maker about who should be present (50.4%), and that the patient should give consent ahead of time (47.0%). Participants indicated that they would want an adult sibling, parents, or others (20.5%); spouse (14.5%); adult child (8.5%); close friend (5.1%); or companion (4.3%) present during cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Younger participants (20–45 years old) were 6.28 times more likely than those ≥ 66 years old (P = .01) and nonwhite participants were 2.7 times more likely than white participants (P = .049) to want family presence.


Patients have strong preferences about family presence during cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and they should have the opportunity to make the decision about having family present.

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