Media portrayals of CPR have led to misperceptions in the public about the relative risks and benefits of attempting CPR. In patients with advanced disease, CPR is often unsuccessful and is associated with poor outcomes, including broken ribs and aspiration pneumonia. For many individuals with advanced disease, CPR does not improve the chances of surviving and being discharged from the hospital.
When my father was in the ICU three years ago, I was uninformed about survival chances with CPR. I was thankful for the ICU physician who reached out to me and explained what CPR entailed and that, for my father, CPR would not improve his chances of survival. The physician clearly and patiently outlined care options for my father and was straightforward about the risks and benefits of each option. My father passed away the next day, and I miss him terribly, but I am thankful for the clear communicative style of the ICU physicians and nurses – they helped the dying process be a little less traumatic for my father.
Watch and share this five minute video about the need for prophylactic end-of-life conversations. Laura Heldebrand, an ICU nurse tells her mother's story.
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