Journal of Gerontological Nursing

Clinical Concepts 

CPR Decision Making and Older Adults: Clinical Implications

Mary P. Cadogan, DrPH, RN, GNP-BC

Abstract

Originally developed in 1960 as an emergency intervention for individuals who unexpectedly went into cardiac arrest, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is now in widespread use. With broader use of CPR over the past several decades, some limitations and unintended consequences of the procedure have been identified. In addition, accumulated data have demonstrated low probabilities of survival and uneven success rates of CPR for certain subgroups. Despite advances in the understanding of CPR outcomes, the general public and many health professionals significantly overestimate the benefits and underestimate any negative consequences. As a result, CPR decision making is often based on incomplete or inaccurate information. This article discusses the “rest of the story” about CPR, namely the existing evidence about CPR survival and potential complications of CPR. The article also highlights how nurses can help promote informed decision making about CPR to older adults and their families.

Abstract

Originally developed in 1960 as an emergency intervention for individuals who unexpectedly went into cardiac arrest, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is now in widespread use. With broader use of CPR over the past several decades, some limitations and unintended consequences of the procedure have been identified. In addition, accumulated data have demonstrated low probabilities of survival and uneven success rates of CPR for certain subgroups. Despite advances in the understanding of CPR outcomes, the general public and many health professionals significantly overestimate the benefits and underestimate any negative consequences. As a result, CPR decision making is often based on incomplete or inaccurate information. This article discusses the “rest of the story” about CPR, namely the existing evidence about CPR survival and potential complications of CPR. The article also highlights how nurses can help promote informed decision making about CPR to older adults and their families.

Dr. Cadogan is Professor, Adjunct Series, University of California, Los Angeles, School of Nursing, Los Angeles, California.

The author discloses that she has no significant financial interests in any product or class of products discussed directly or indirectly in this activity, including research support.

Address correspondence to Mary P. Cadogan, DrPH, RN, GNP-BC, Professor, Adjunct Series, University of California, Los Angeles, School of Nursing, Factor 5–952, Box 956919, Los Angeles, CA 90095-6919; e-mail: mcadogan@sonnet.ucla.edu.

Posted Online: November 22, 2010
Authors

Dr. Cadogan is Professor, Adjunct Series, University of California, Los Angeles, School of Nursing, Los Angeles, California.

The author discloses that she has no significant financial interests in any product or class of products discussed directly or indirectly in this activity, including research support.

Address correspondence to Mary P. Cadogan, DrPH, RN, GNP-BC, Professor, Adjunct Series, University of California, Los Angeles, School of Nursing, Factor 5–952, Box 956919, Los Angeles, CA 90095-6919; e-mail: .mcadogan@sonnet.ucla.edu

10.3928/00989134-20101109-01

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