This article in the journal Resuscitation examines the needs of the 'forgotten patient' in out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA), which have a mortality rate of between 80 and 90%. Unlike many other critical illnesses, family members and partners often witness the collapse or have to perform CPR on their friend or loved one.
The traumatic burden associated with these events can be significant, resulting in unique psychosocial needs both for survivors and those who witness or perform CPR. The partner or caregiver may struggle to deal with the fear, anxiety and guilt associated with the arrest, CPR provision and subsequent care upon discharge of their loved ones from hospital. This often makes the caregiver a ‘forgotten patient’ and there is growing literature examining the high levels of stress, anxiety, anger and confusion experienced by caregivers of survivors in the first 12 months after OHCA.