Slow Code Essay

971 Words4 Pages
Abstract Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is defined as “the restoration of cardiac and respiratory function required in the treatment of cardiac arrest and incorporates a spectrum of procedures ranging from mouth to mouth ventilation, chest compression, electrical defibrillation, cardiac pacing, open chest massage, endotracheal intubation and the administration of fluids and medications” (Kelly, 2007 p. 111). There is an ethical debate sparking in the healthcare community in regards to the evolving practice of performing slow codes. A slow code is an acknowledged, unspoken practice of performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation without purposeful intent to resuscitate the patient. “The goal of the slow code is to let the patient die with the appearance of an attempted rescue” (Zucker, 1998 p.597). Many healthcare workers view this practice as invasive and degrading to the dying or critically ill patient, while others view it as an attempt to satisfy family members and the governing healthcare statutes. This debated practice could be eradicated by the use of advance directives, stricter clinical guidelines, and improved communication and information provided to family members; thus assisting them to make informed decisions regarding their loved ones healthcare (Kelly, 2007). I will explore both realms of this expanding practice and further discuss ways to eliminate situations that warrant the practice of slow codes. “A nationwide survey showed that 80% of people believed that acute hospital care for terminally ill and dying people needs improvement because many patients do not die a dignified death” (Kelly, 2007 p. 110). This arouses the topic of cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the practice of slow codes. Many healthcare workers view the practice of performing slow codes as dishonest, undignified and unnecessary. It is viewed as dishonest because it gives the
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