Exploring healthcare professionals’ perceptions regarding family-witnessed resuscitation in a hospital in Kigali, Rwanda

Placide Havugitanga, Petra Brysiewicz


Background. The process of actively attempting to revive a patient in cardiac arrest while in the presence of family members is known as family-witnessed resuscitation (FWR). The positive benefits of having family members present during resuscitation have been documented.

Objective. To explore the perceptions of healthcare professionals regarding FWR in an intensive care unit (ICU) and an accident and emergency (A&E) unit in a hospital in Kigali, Rwanda.

Methods. A qualitative approach was used to explore the participants’ perceptions regarding FWR, using two semi-structured individual interviews conducted with each participant. The principle of saturation was applied, and a total of eight participants from two departments (ICU and A&E) in a hospital in Kigali were included in this study.

Results. From the participants’ responses at the beginning of the interview, it was evident that FWR was a new concept for them. The participants welcomed the idea by expressing their perceived benefits of FWR. They established that the hospital where the research was conducted did not have any policies or procedures currently in place, but felt that this practice might be beneficial to the families, the patient and the medical team. However, participants did raise various concerns related to the challenges of implementing the practice of FWR.

Conclusion. FWR is not currently practised in Rwanda and a number of recommendations are suggested in an attempt to introduce this practice as an option for Rwandan families.

Authors' affiliations

Placide Havugitanga, Faculty of Nursing Sciences, Kigali Health Institute, Rwanda

Petra Brysiewicz, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

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Family-witnessed resuscitation; healthcare professionals; Rwanda

Cite this article

Southern African Journal of Critical Care 2014;30(1):18-21. DOI:10.7196/SAJCC.174

Article History

Date submitted: 2013-08-12
Date published: 2014-07-08

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