Clearing the air: discussing resuscitation orders in hospitals

November 13, 2000

Although most people want their physicians to discuss resuscitation or "code status" with them, these discussions are often fraught with difficulty and delay in the hospital setting.

Dr. Betty Calam and colleagues conducted in-depth interviews with 5 family physicians and 5 family practices residents admitting patients to a family practice teaching ward in a university-affiliated urban hospital. The authors report that physicians identified personal discomfort with confronting mortality, fear of damaging the doctor­patient relationship and other factors as barriers to discussing code status with patients.

The authors suggest that family physicians are "ideally situated" to facilitate code status discussion because of their existing relationship with the patient. However, they add that recognizing barriers to communication is necessary so physicians can become more self-aware of their own feelings concerning end-of-life issues.
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Discussion of "code status" on a family practice teaching ward: What barriers do family physicians face?

Canadian Medical Association Journal

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