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TV 'glamorises resuscitation bids'
Intensive care patient
Resuscitating a patient can be a traumatic experience
Hospital dramas on television have given patients the wrong impression of what happens during attempts to resuscitate loved ones and allow people false hope about the chances of success, nurses have claimed.

Hospital nurse Jason Warriner told the Royal College of Nursing's annual congress in Harrogate that TV soaps 'glamorised' resuscitation and raised expectations of a successful outcome.

He was speaking during a debate on 'do not resuscitate' (DNR) polices, where hospital staff indicate in medical notes that a terminally ill patient should not be given cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) when near the end of his or her life.

Mr Warriner said such decisions were poorly communicated to other staff.

Three times in the past year he had been a member of a hospital 'crash' team who had helped resuscitate patients who, it was later revealed, had DNR written in their notes.

No discussion

Several delegates agreed that decisions not to resuscitate were not relayed to all staff and were often not discussed with the patients concerned or their relatives.

Carol Britton, a member of the RCN's ethics forum, said: "The public has a right to information and to make decisions. This should be a real right and not a cosmetic mantra."

She said public information campaigns must explain clearly what patients should expect from resuscitation, the likely results and where it takes place.

They should also make clear that the process was "not as straightforward as episodes of Casualty and ER make it seem".

Student nurse Sue Orr said in three years of training she had never seen resuscitation discussed with a patient, even though guidance issued by the British Medical Association and the RCN says DNR decisions should only be made after "appropriate consultation".

Delegates agreed that the RCN should mount a campaign of public education and debate on resuscitation and DNR policies.


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