Parental presence on pediatric intensive care unit rounds

J Pediatr. 2009 Oct;155(4):522-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2009.03.035. Epub 2009 Jun 24.


Objective: To comprehensively evaluate the effect of parental presence on pediatric intensive care unit rounds.

Study design: A prospective, observational and survey-based study comprised of (1) observation of rounds (2) "rounding event assessments" (brief surveys specific to 1 rounding event, completed by health care providers [HCPs] n = 375) (3) qualitative interviews with parents (36 who joined rounds and 16 who elected not to join), and (4) qualitative written surveys from HCPs (63 nurses, 39 doctors).

Results: Eighty-one percent of parents who chose to join rounds reported that participation increased their overall satisfaction with their child's care. In 57% of rounding events, at least 1 HCP learned new, pertinent information from the parents. However, in 32% of rounding events, at least 1 HCP believed parental presence limited discussion. Forty-seven percent of parents who participated in rounds and 88% of those who chose not to participate volunteered that participation has the potential to increase parental confusion and anxiety (P = .02).

Conclusions: Most parents and physicians agree that parents should be invited to participate on rounds. Parents report increased satisfaction from participation, and parents provide new information when on rounds. However, parental presence may limit discussion during rounds which may adversely affect patient care.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Critical Care*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Pediatrics / education*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Problem-Based Learning / organization & administration*
  • Professional-Family Relations