Involve the family. When I started it was common practice to shoo the family out of the room. Not just on the scene, but in the ED. I no longer do that. I make certain to explain to a family member or members what we are doing and how things are progressing. If they choose to wait in the kitchen, I will keep them updated, but if they want to stand in the living room and watch, I will explain to them what we are doing. Sometimes, I will let them hold the patient’s hand or brush their hair.
If I am getting ready to cease a resuscitation, I will tell family members what is happening, and I will have them come in (if they are not already in the room) and say their goodbyes. The departing may be able to hear and take the voices of their loved ones with them. If you need a reminder of why we do what we do, try this. Listen to the family’s good bye.
“Auntie May, I love you. I remember what you’ve done for me. Say hello to Uncle Jim. Tell him we miss him and we’ll be together again. I’ll take care of Jake and Mary. Don’t you worry. I love you, Auntie.”