Nursing facility residents’ cardiopulmonary resuscitation decisions

Anne L. Myers, Marianne S. Matthias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Context: As many as one-quarter of all residents in nursing facilities have cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) as a documented choice in the medical record, despite the likelihood of limited medical benefit in this setting. Objectives: The aim of this study was to understand the perspectives of healthcare providers and nursing facility residents regarding CPR decisions. Methods: We used qualitative interviews to examine the perspectives of residents with a documented decision for CPR in the medical record. We then compared residents’ views with those of healthcare providers who routinely conduct advance care planning (ACP) conversations in the nursing facility setting. Results: Five themes emerged from the interviews: (a) Resident versus Provider Concerns, (b) Offering Information versus Avoidance, (c) Lack of Understanding of CPR, (d) Lack of Awareness, and (e) ‘Don't Keep Me on Machines'. Residents held misconceptions about CPR and/or exhibited an overall poor understanding of the relationship between their own health status and the likelihood of a successful CPR attempt. Although healthcare providers offer information and health education in an attempt to address knowledge gaps, these efforts are not always successful or even accepted by residents. Resident viewpoints and priorities differed from healthcare providers in ways that affected communication about CPR. Conclusions: Unrecognised differences in perceptions between providers and residents affect key aspects of ACP communication that can impact CPR decision-making. The concerns and priorities of institutionalized older adults may differ from those of healthcare providers, creating challenges for engaging some residents in ACP. Implications for Practice: ACP communication models and training should be designed not only to explore nursing facility residents' goals, values, and preferences, but also to elicit any underlying differences in perceptions that may affect communication. Healthcare providers can identifying the primary concerns of residents and assist them with integrating or reframing these issues as a part of ACP discussions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational journal of older people nursing
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • advance care planning
  • cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • communication
  • decision-making
  • nursing facility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology

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