Family Presence During Trauma Resuscitation: Ready for Primetime?

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BACKGROUND: The concept of family presence during trauma resuscitation (FPTR) remains controversial. Healthcare providers have expressed concern that resuscitation of severely injured trauma patients is inappropriate for family members as they may have psychologic distress, disrupt resuscitative efforts, or misinterpret provider actions, which can ultimately impact satisfaction with care. The minimal evidence that exists is descriptive or anecdotal.

METHODS: Using a previously developed FPTR protocol, a prospective, comparative study assessing 50 adult family members, who were present (n = 25) or not present (n = 25) with their severely injured adult family member during resuscitation, was conducted. Family member anxiety was assessed using State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, satisfaction using a Revised-Critical Care Family Needs Inventory, and well-being using Family Member Well-being Index within 48 hours of intensive care unit admission. Mean total scores were compared for both groups with independent t tests. Significance was set at p < 0.05.

RESULTS: Age and Injury Severity Score were statistically equivalent in all patients. Anxiety, satisfaction, and well-being were not statistically different in family members present compared with those not present during resuscitation. There were no untoward events during resuscitation efforts. Family members present felt they benefited the patient and gained a better understanding of the situation. Conversely, family members not present commented that they would have preferred to have been present during resuscitation.

CONCLUSIONS: Family members present during trauma resuscitation suffered no ill psychologic effects and scored equivalent to those family members who were not present on anxiety, satisfaction, and well-being measures. Quality of care during trauma resuscitation was maintained. The fact that all the family members would repeat experience again supports the idea that FPTR was not too traumatic for those who chose to be present.





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Medical Specialties | Medicine and Health Sciences | Nursing | Surgery | Trauma




Department of Community Health and Health Studies, Department of Surgery, Department of Surgery Faculty, Patient Care Services / Nursing

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