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Cardiopulmonary resuscitation—from the patient’s perspective

Department of Anaesthesiology, Intensive Care and Pain Medicine, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore


With increasing emphasis on patient autonomy, patients are encouraged to be more involved in end-of-life issues, including the use of extraordinary efforts to prolong their lives. Being able to make anticipatory decisions is seen to promote autonomy, empower patients and optimise patient care. To facilitate shared decision-making, patients need to have a clear and accurate understanding of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). This study aims to understand the knowledge and perspectives of the local community regarding resuscitation options and end-of-life decision-making and to explore ways to improve the quality of end-of-life discussions. An interviewer-administered survey was conducted with a prospectively recruited group of surgical patients admitted postoperatively to the day surgery ward of a single tertiary institution in Singapore from April to May 2015. The survey, modelled after two validated questionnaires, measured patients’ knowledge, attitudes and preferences regarding CPR in a series of 18 questions. Fifty-one out of 67 (76.1%) patients completed the survey. Results indicated that 80.4% (n=41) of participants correctly understood the purpose of CPR, but 64.7% (n=33) did not know of any possible complications of CPR. Less than half (n=21, 41.2%) of participants had thought about life support measures they wanted for themselves. Most of the participants agreed that they should personally be involved in making end-of-life decisions (n=44, 86.3%). Many patients had a poor knowledge of CPR and other resuscitation measures and the majority overestimated the success rate of CPR. However, a majority were receptive to improving their knowledge and keen to discuss end-of-life issues with physicians.

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