The effect of family presence on the efficiency of pediatric trauma resuscitations

Ann Emerg Med. 2009 Jun;53(6):777-84.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2008.10.002. Epub 2008 Nov 14.


Study objective: Family presence has broad professional organizational support and is gaining acceptance. We seek to determine whether family presence prolonged pediatric trauma team resuscitations as measured by time from emergency department arrival to computed tomographic (CT) scan, and to resuscitation completion.

Methods: A prospective trial offered families of pediatric trauma patients family presence on even days and no family presence on odd days. Primary outcome measures were time from arrival to CT scan and to resuscitation completion (laboratory tests, emergency procedures, portable radiographs, and secondary survey). We evaluated the effect of family presence in an adjusted Cox proportional hazards model. Staff and family experiencing a resuscitation with family presence were asked their opinions of that experience.

Results: Of 1,229 pediatric trauma activations, 705 patients were included in the study protocol, 283 with family presence on even days, 422 without family presence on odd days. Median times to CT scan (21 minutes; IQR 16 to 29 minutes) and median resuscitation times (15 minutes; IQR 10 to 20 minutes) were similar with and without family presence. There was no clinically relevant difference in CT time (hazard ratio 1.04; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.83 to 1.30) or resuscitation time (hazard ratio 0.98; 95% CI 0.83 to 1.15). Families believed that family presence was helpful both to their child and themselves.

Conclusion: This prospective trial shows that family presence does not prolong time to CT imaging or to resuscitation completion for pediatric trauma patients. Family presence does not negatively affect the time efficiency of the pediatric trauma resuscitation.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Humans
  • Parents
  • Professional-Family Relations
  • Prospective Studies
  • Resuscitation*
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Visitors to Patients*
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy*