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J Pediatr Health Care. 2007 Jul-Aug;21(4):217-25.

Family experiences during resuscitation at a children's hospital emergency department.

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Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, Texas 77057, USA.



Family presence (FP) during resuscitation is a timely and controversial topic. Family members are becoming part of the resuscitation process. Study objectives included: (1) describe experiences of family members whose children underwent resuscitation in a children's hospital emergency department; (2) identify critical information about family experiences to improve circumstances for future families; and (3) assess mental and health functioning of family members.


This descriptive, retrospective study involved a 1-hour audio-taped interview of 10 family members using the Parkland Family Presence During Resuscitation/Invasive Procedures Unabridged Family Survey (FS) and investigator-developed questions. Mental and health functioning were assessed using the Brief Symptom Inventory, the Short Form Health Survey version 2, and the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Scale. Seven family members were present during resuscitation, and three were not present.


Five thematic categories were identified: (1) It's My Right to Be There; (2) Connection and Comfort Make a Difference; (3) Seeing is Believing; (4) Getting In; and (5) Information Giving. Family members voiced that it was their right to be present, indicating they had a special connection to the child. Seeing or not seeing the events of the resuscitation affected family members' ability to believe the outcome. Measures of mental and health functioning were similar to population norms.


Instituting guidelines that facilitate FP may provide mechanisms to ensure that the needs of patients, family members, and health care providers are met during a stressful event.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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