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Physician experience with family presence during cardiopulmonary resuscitation in children*

Gold, Katherine J. MD, MSW; Gorenflo, Daniel W. PhD; Schwenk, Thomas L. MD; Bratton, Susan L. MD, MPH

Pediatric Critical Care Medicine: September 2006 - Volume 7 - Issue 5 - p 428-433
doi: 10.1097/01.PCC.0000235249.99137.D3
Feature Article—Continuing Medical Education

Objective: Family presence during cardiopulmonary resuscitation in children is an emerging practice. Although many hospitals allow this practice, there is scant research on physician attitudes and opinions and on physician views about training for resident physicians.

Design: Survey method.

Setting: University and community settings.

Patients: We randomly selected 1,200 pediatric critical care and emergency medicine providers from professional association mailing lists.

Intervention: The providers were mailed up to two written surveys and two reminder cards. The survey consisted of 40 multiple-choice and short-answer questions about demographics, past experiences, and opinions on pediatric family presence.

Measurements and Results: Of 1,200 surveys mailed, 521 were completed (43.4%) and 73 (6.1%) respondents returned the form declining to participate. More than 99% of respondents were physicians. Four hundred and thirty-three respondents (83%) reported participation in pediatric resuscitation with family members present, with a mean of 15 episodes ever and three episodes within the last year. Of those who had ever participated, more than half thought it was helpful for the family, and two thirds believed that parents wanted the option. Ninety-three percent would allow family presence in some situations. Seventy-four percent believed family presence would be stressful for a resident physician, but nearly 80% believed that residents working with children should be educated in this area.

Conclusions: Family presence during cardiopulmonary resuscitation in children is not an uncommon experience for health care providers. Most respondents had resuscitated a child with family members present. The majority thought that presence was helpful to parents and that residents should be trained in this practice.

Lecturer, Department of Family Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program (KJG), Research Investigator (DWG), Professor and Chair (TLS), Department of Family Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI; Professor, Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT (SLB).

*See also p. 488.

Supported, in part, by the University of Michigan Departments of Family Medicine and Pediatrics, which provided funds to support survey materials and mailing costs. The departments had no role in the design, interpretation, analysis, or approval of study results.

Address requests for reprints to: Katherine J. Gold, MD, MSW, University of Michigan Health System, Department of Family Medicine, 1500 E. Medical Center Dr., Room L2003, Box 0239, Ann Arbor, MI 48109–0239. E-mail:

©2006The Society of Critical Care Medicine and the World Federation of Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care Societies