Cultural aspects of death notification following cardiopulmonary resuscitation


cardiopulmonary resuscitation, critical care, culture, death awareness, family members, nursing


Aims: To explore the lived experience of resuscitation team members involved in notifying family members when a patient dies following a resuscitation event in an Iranian cultural context.

Background: Death notification to the family is indeed a difficult and an important issue for resuscitation team members. The way health professionals deliver news to family members should incorporate elements of sensitivity, timing and adequate clinical explanations with emphasis on the efforts made by the professionals during the resuscitation.

Design: A phenomenological study.

Method: Over a period of 5 months (June 2016–November 2016) eleven nurses and six physicians were interviewed using an in‐depth interview process applying Van Manen's hermeneutic phenomenological approach for data collection and analysis. The participants were recruited from six tertiary hospitals in Tabriz, Iran.

Findings: There were two main themes that emerged from the data analysis including: “contributing factors on the impact of notification” and “notification strategies”. A further 13 subthemes emerged under the main themes. Several culturally related issues emerged with the participants feeling more comfortable informing male rather than female relatives about the death of the patient following a resuscitation.

Conclusions: Notifying family members of a patient's death is a stressful and culturally sensitive task for the resuscitation team members. The nature of the patient's presenting condition, together with the various resuscitation interventions can result in relatives responding unpredictably. Providing health professionals with the appropriate training and skills to effectively communicate with family members will ensure that the families’ level of preparedness, understanding and cultural beliefs are taken into consideration.

Original Publication Citation

Hassankhani, H., Haririan, H., Porter, J. E., & Heaston, S. (2018). Cultural aspects of death notification following cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Journal of Advanced Nursing.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Journal of Advanced Nursing





University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor