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Clin Exp Emerg Med. 2019 Dec;6(4):340-344. doi: 10.15441/ceem.18.075. Epub 2019 Dec 31.

Parental presence during pediatric emergency procedures: finding answers in an Asian context.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, KK Women's and Children's Hospital, Singapore.
Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore.



The practice of allowing parental presence during invasive procedures in children varies depending on setting and individual provider preference. We aim to understand the attitudes, preferences, and practices of physicians and nurses with regard to parental presence during invasive pediatric emergency procedures in an Asian cultural context.


We surveyed physicians and nurses in the pediatric emergency department of a large tertiary hospital using separate self-administered questionnaires over three months. The data collected included the demographics and clinical experience of interview respondents. Each provider was asked about their attitude and preference regarding parental presence during specific invasive procedures.


We surveyed 90 physicians and 107 nurses. Most physicians in our context preferred to perform pediatric emergency procedures without parental presence (82, 91.1%). Forty physicians (44.4%) reported that parental presence slowed down procedures, while 75 (83.3%) felt it increased provider stress. Most physicians made the decision to allow parents into the procedure room based on parental attitude (69, 76.7%) and the child's level of cooperation (64, 71.1%). Most nurses concurred that parental presence would add to provider stress during procedures (69, 64.5%). We did not find a significant relationship between provider experience (P=0.26) or age (P=0.50) and preference for parental presence.


In our cultural context, most physicians and nurses prefer to perform procedures for children in the absence of parents. We propose that this can be changed by health professional training with role play and simulation, adequate supervision by experienced physicians, and clear communication with parents.


Asia; Family; Parents; Pediatric emergency medicine

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