Over the last years, automated external defibrillators are placed in many public areas leading to positive outcomes after sudden cardiac arrest. Automated external defibrillators are also becoming frequent in nursing homes where most residents are suffering from chronic illnesses and dementia and they are in old age indicating that they are in an end of life situation. Therefore, nursing home health care providers are faced with both legal and ethical challenges when deciding to resucitate nursing home residents who get a cardiac arrest. The purpose of this article is to discuss these dilemmas drawing on research and legal and ethical theories. The analyses show that in such cases health care providers always are in a dilemma between juridical and ethical reasoning. We argue that these dilemmas can be minimized by openness and knowledge, by using professional judgment and discernment and by discussions with the residents and their relatives about their wishes and wants.

Keywords: external defibrillator, nursing home, legal, ethical challenge