Improving discussions about resuscitation for bereaved relatives in COVID-19

This project explores how discussions about resuscitation can be improved for the bereaved relatives/carers of people who died in hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Good communication around healthcare at the end-of-life is important for relatives and carers, and can help when coping with bereavement.

The issue of communication regarding resuscitation decisions for those admitted to hospital is especially important during the pandemic, as usual modes of communication have been disrupted due to untimely unexpected deaths and restrictions to face-to-face hospital visiting. Complaints about communication around resuscitation decisions are common.

This is distressing for patients and families and costly for the NHS. Lessons can be learned by listening to the perspectives of relatives and carers around what went well and what could be improved.

Aims

  • Find out how discussions about resuscitation can be improved for the bereaved relatives/carers of people who died in hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Research methods

We will undertake 45-60 telephone and Zoom interviews to understand the experiences of relatives/carers of people who died in hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic, and who discussed resuscitation/do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (DNACPR) with medical staff. The interview will allow the participant to discuss factors important to them.

The experiences of recently bereaved relatives/carers discussing resuscitation in the context of COVID-19 inspired this research question. Relatives/carers have also been involved in the development of the research design.

We commissioned an advisory group of bereaved relatives/carers and bereavement specialists to help develop the interview questions, the analytical framework, and how we share our findings.

Policy relevance

The findings from this research will be presented to DHSC to inform policy in this area, as well as the National Clinical Director for End-of-Life and the National End-of-Life Care Intelligence Network.

Delivery timeline

June 2021 to June 2022

Ethics

This study has ethical approval from the University of Manchester Research Ethics Committee, reference number 2021-11386-19227.

Information for participants

 

Join our research

Take part in our study and tell us about your experiences of discussions around resuscitation in hospital.

 

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