Family presence during invasive procedures and resuscitations in the emergency department: a critical review and suggestions for future research

Ann Emerg Med. 2002 Aug;40(2):193-205. doi: 10.1067/mem.2002.124899.


Study objective: We examine the literature relating to family presence in the emergency department, with a specific emphasis on parental experiences and presence during invasive procedures and family presence during cardiopulmonary resuscitation and resuscitation.

Methods: An electronic search and examination of resulting references was conducted using the words, "family centered care," "parent participation," "parent presence," "family presence," and "emergency department," "accident and emergency department," "procedure," "invasive procedure," and "resuscitation." Articles related to out-of-hospital emergency medical services were excluded. Also, articles were included only if the manuscript was based on an empirical study and if the manuscript was published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Results: Twenty articles, primarily composed of survey research, were included in this review. Research suggests that families want to be given the option and, when given the option, often choose to remain during invasive procedures and resuscitations. Those who remain generally report favorable experiences and feel it is beneficial to the patient and themselves. Providers, however, have mixed opinions regarding family presence. Nurses may have a more favorable view toward family presence during invasive procedures than physicians. Among physicians, it appears that greater age and experience may be associated with more favorable opinions of family presence. Randomized controlled trials are mixed regarding whether family presence actually helps the patient.

Conclusion: Despite what appear to be promising data regarding the benefits of family presence, this area of research is in the initial phases of development with many limitations that are discussed. Recommendations for future research are presented.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Child
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Emergency Treatment* / psychology
  • Family / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Nurses / psychology
  • Parents / psychology
  • Physicians / psychology
  • Resuscitation* / psychology