Tolerance of family presence during pediatric cardiopulmonary resuscitation: a snapshot of military and civilian pediatricians, nurses, and residents

Pediatr Emerg Care. 2002 Dec;18(6):409-13. doi: 10.1097/00006565-200212000-00002.


Background: Family presence during cardiopulmonary resuscitation is becoming a more common and accepted practice.

Objectives: We wanted to determine the views held by pediatricians on family presence during pediatric cardiopulmonary resuscitation. We hypothesized that physicians who had more experience with critical illness and death would be more willing to allow parental presence. Additionally, we hypothesized that recently trained physicians, who may have had more educational exposure to family presence, would be more open to the practice than physicians who had been practicing longer.

Methods: A 10-question survey was distributed to attendees of the American Academy of Pediatrics annual Uniformed Services Pediatric Seminar meeting, as well as pediatric staff and residents at both Tripler Army Medical Center and Kapiolani Women's and Children's Medical Center, Honolulu, Hawaii. Responses were compared using chi analysis, with significance indicated by a value < 0.05.

Results: Of the 245 respondents, 65% indicated that they would not allow parental presence. There was no significant difference in the responses based on gender, military affiliation, or years of experience. Those involved in inpatient-oriented specialties and residents were significantly more likely to allow parental presence during resuscitation than respondents involved in outpatient-oriented specialties (57.5%, 50%, and 26.4%, respectively; < 0.01). Although only one third of respondents had been involved in a resuscitation during which parents were allowed to be present, the majority (63%) indicated that they would be willing to repeat the practice.

Conclusions: Although in the minority, one third of the pediatricians surveyed are comfortable allowing parental presence during cardiopulmonary resuscitation. We conclude that pediatricians who have more frequent contact with seriously ill children are more likely to accept parental presence. Additionally, the exposure to parental presence during resuscitation efforts increases the likelihood of allowing parental presence in future resuscitation efforts.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / psychology*
  • Child
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Hawaii
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency
  • Male
  • Military Medicine
  • Nurses / psychology
  • Pediatrics*
  • Physicians / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Visitors to Patients*