Good and bad experiences of family presence during acute care and resuscitation. What makes the difference?

Eur J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2005 Jun;4(2):161-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ejcnurse.2005.01.004. Epub 2005 Mar 3.


Background: Family presence (FP) in the resuscitation room is still controversial, and its appropriateness for patient and family has been discussed. We examined both positive and negative experiences in order to establish the reasons for the difference.

Aim: The aim of the present literature review was to describe patients', relatives' and staff's opinions and experiences of FP during invasive procedures and resuscitation.

Method: 12 original papers, published between January 1995 and February 2003, were reviewed.

Results: Most patients and relatives agreed that they had positive experiences of FP. They described how FP enhanced the feeling of support and connectedness within the family. Family members believed that FP helped them in their grieving process. Most staff members without FP experience felt that FP would increase the risk of psychological distress for the family. Those who had participated in an FP programme believed that FP was not only beneficial for the family but also for staff.

Conclusion: Family presence during resuscitation and acute care has the potential to enhance the care of the patient and to benefit everyone involved. However, implementation of FP during resuscitation must take account of potential problems.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease / psychology
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Family / psychology*
  • Grief
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Helping Behavior
  • Humans
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / education
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patients' Rooms*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Research Design
  • Resuscitation / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Visitors to Patients / psychology*