The presence of family members does not impede the care of injured children in the emergency department, according to a study presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting in Boston.
“Despite the many documented family and patient benefits and previous studies that highlight the safe practice of family presence, trauma providers remain hesitant to adopt this practice,” study author Karen O’Connell, MD, stated in an American Academy of Pediatrics release.
Using video recordings, O’Connell and colleagues reviewed 145 trauma evaluations in children younger than 16 years at a level I pediatric trauma center. For the purpose of the study, family presence was defined as a family member entering the trauma bay within 2 minutes of the patient.
Using Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) protocol, the researchers compared clinical measures of instances when family members were or were not present. Among the measures noted, the investigators compared how long it took the trauma team to assess the patient’s airway, pulse and neurologic disability.
According to the release, 86 patients had family members present while 59 patients did not. The researchers noted in the abstract that patients with family present were generally younger and more likely to have experienced blunt trauma.
Investigators found no significant differences in the time it took to complete assessments with or without the presence of family members.
“We found that medical teams were able to successfully perform needed evaluation and treatments of injured children both with and without family members present,” O’Connell stated in the release. “Our study supports the practice of allowing parents to be present during the treatment of their children, even during potentially painful or invasive procedures.”
- O’Connell KJ, Carter EA, Kingsnorth J, et al. Effect of family presence on ATLS task performance during pediatric trauma resuscitation. Paper 1665.7. Presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies 2012 Annual Meeting. Boston.