Objective: To determine whether parental presence during venipuncture (VP) altered self-reported distress of the child, the parent, or the health professional (HP) performing VP.
Methods: During nine consecutive months, 130 nonconsecutive 8-18-year-old children having VP in an urban pediatric ED were prospectively randomized into two groups of 65 patients each. Before VP, every child, parent, and HP completed a questionnaire developed to measure epidemiologic variables believed to influence distress during VP. The patients were randomized to have either a parent present or both parents absent during VP. The patients, the parents, and the HPs privately self-reported their distress during VP on a visual analog scale (VAS). Statistical significance was determined by the Mann-Whitney U (rank-sum) test.
Results: In the parent-present group, distress scores were lower for the parent (p < 0.01) and for the child (p < 0.04) than they were in the parents-absent group. The HP performing VP had no difference in distress scores with and without parental presence (p < 0.55).
Conclusions: Parents and children having VP have less distress with parental presence. Health professional distress is not affected by parental presence.