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287 Citizen responders are an important supportive resource for relatives to cardiac arrest patients during resuscitation
  1. AR Kragh1,2,
  2. L Andelius1,2,
  3. MCT Gregers1,2,
  4. L Zinckernagel3,
  5. AK Christensen4,
  6. F Folke1,2,5,
  7. T Thørnhøj-Thomsen6,
  8. CM Hansen1,7
  1. 1Copenhagen University Hospital – Copenhagen Emergency Medical Services, Copenhagen, Denmark
  2. 2Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen Denmark
  3. 3National Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark
  4. 4Department of Psychology, Rigshospitalet University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark
  5. 5Department of Cardiology, Herlev-Gentofte University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark
  6. 6Department of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark
  7. 7Department of Cardiology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark


Background In Denmark, a volunteer responder (VR) system was implemented in 20171. This study explored how volunteer responders provide emotional support for relatives to out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) patients and how their presence during resuscitation is experienced by the relatives.

Method In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with thirteen participants (four relatives and nine VRs) and analysed using thematic analysis. The analysis of data was an inductive process inspired by a hermeneutical interpretative approach. We indexed our data through the application of codes generated to draw out meaning from the text. Themes were created Following the analytical guide suggested by Braun and Clarke.

Results Eight themes emerged from the interviews: ‘Acting to help – an inner calling’, ‘ Citizen responders’ cooperation and capability of organizing tasks’, ‘Taking care of relatives – a task equal with the resuscitation effort’, ‘Thoughts in the aftermath of the event’, ‘The feeling of being part of another family’s history’, ‘The immediate relief when citizen responders arrive’, ‘mutual trust’ and ‘Citizen responders are strangers, yet rescue heroes’.

Relatives experienced VRs as competent and skilled, and described a relationship based on mutual trust and confidence. VRs considered provision of emotional support for relatives as a natural calling equally significant with providing cardio-pulmonal resuscitation.

Conclusion Relatives to OHCA patients highly value volunteer responders’ provision of emotional support during resuscitation. Volunteer responders consider provision of psychological support to relatives of equal importance to providing cardiopulmonary resuscitation when dispatched to OHCA.


  1. Andelius L, Malta Hansen C, Lippert FK, Karlsson L, Torp-Pedersen C, Kjær Ersbøll A, et al. Smartphone Activation of Citizen Responders to Facilitate Defibrillation in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest. Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2020;76:43–53.

Conflict of interest None.

Funding Astrid Rolin Kragh has received research grants from TrygFonden and Helsefonden.

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: .

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