The sudden death of a close family member or loved one is one of the most traumatic and impactful human experiences. The interactions families have in during their family member’s cardiac arrest and resuscitation can have long lasting effects on their health and employment status.
The objectives of this project were to collect and analyze clinical governance documents related to family centred care and cardiac arrest care in Canadian EMS organizations; and to improve the family centredness of out of hospital cardiac arrest care through experience-based co-design.
We conducted qualitative document analysis of Canadian EMS clinical governance documents related to family centred and cardiac arrest care, combining elements of content and thematic analysis methods. We then used experience-based co-design to develop a family centred out of hospital cardiac arrest care policy and procedure template.
Thirty-five Canadian EMS organizations responded to our requests, representing service area coverage for 80% of the Canadian population. Twenty documents were obtained for review and six overarching themes were identified: addressing family in event of in-home death, importance of family, family member escort, provider discretion and family presence discouraged. Informed by our qualitative analysis we then co-designed a policy and procedure template was created that prioritizes patient care while promotes family centredness.
There were few directives to support family centred care by Canadian EMS organizations. A family centred out of hospital cardiac arrest care policy and procedure template was developed using experience-based co-design to assist EMS organizations improve the family centredness of out of hospital cardiac arrest care.
Keywords: cardiac arrest; family-centred care; emergency medical services; qualitative