Family member presence in the pediatric emergency department

Walter J. Eppich*, Linda D. Arnold

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Traditionally, family members were excluded from viewing invasive procedures and cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the pediatric emergency department. The concept of family-centered care in the emergency department has now become more widespread. Consequently, family member presence during routine invasive procedures such as venipuncture, intravenous cannulation, urethral catheterization, and lumbar puncture has become more accepted. Survey evidence indicates parents' overwhelming desire to be present for invasive procedures and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Healthcare provider opinions about family witnessed resuscitation lack similar uniformity. Variations in approval of witnessed resuscitation are influenced by occupation, level of training and experience, and prior exposure to family member presence practices. Although several organizations formally support family presence policies, citing benefits for grieving relatives, critics point to a lack of rigor in a large body of the research cited to underpin these endorsements. We review the literature from the perspective of pediatric emergency physicians, offer suggestions for family member presence, and provide directions for future study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)294-298
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent opinion in pediatrics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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