Resuscitation in cancer. Comparison of patient and health staff preferences

Cathy Owen*, Christopher Tennant, John Levi, Michael Jones

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


One hundred oncology patients from a major teaching hospital and their treating health staff were studied in the second phase of research examining attitudes towards cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). A descriptive approach was used incorporating semistructured interviews of patients and established questionnaire measures, examining knowledge of and attitude towards disease and treatment, psychological functioning, and current and projected attitude toward resuscitation. Health staff also participated in a semistructured interview. This phase of the project focused particularly on a direct comparison of patient and staff assessments. In current circumstances, 10% of patients refused resuscitation. This was associated with disease of good prognosis. In a future hypothetical deteriorated scenario presented to patients, 39% declined resuscitation. This was associated with a past history of suicidal behavior. In current circumstances, health staff designated 14% of patients "Do-Not-Resuscitate" (DNR)-this was associated with a number of variables considered to predict poor outcome in resuscitation. In the future scenario, staff designaied 54% of patients DNR-this was associated again with poor resuscitation outcome variables, but also independently, with a past psychiatric history. Comparison of patient and health staff preferences for resuscitation showed moderate yet significant concordance in current circumstances but not in the future scenario. The findings indicate firstly the feasibility of discussing resuscitation preferences with seriously ill patients and secondly an urgent need to improve patient and staff discussions regarding resuscitation, as staff and patients' attitudes to resuscitation differ.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-285
Number of pages9
JournalGeneral Hospital Psychiatry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1994


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