Experiences of families when present during resuscitation in the emergency department after trauma

Jane S. Leske, Natalie S. McAndrew, Karen J. Brasel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Several organizations have published national guidelines on providing the option of family presence during resuscitation (FPDR). Although FPDR is being offered in clinical practice, there is limited description of family experiences after FPDR. The aim of this study was to describe family experiences of the FPDR option after trauma from motor vehicle crashes and gunshot wounds. A descriptive, qualitative design based on content analysis was used to describe family experiences of the FPDR option. Family members (N = 28) were recruited from a major level 1 adult trauma center in the Midwest. Participants in this study were 1 family member per patient who were 18 years or older, visited the patient in the surgical intensive care unit, spoke and understood English, and had only one critically injured patient in the family. Family interview data on experiences during FPDR after trauma were used to identify themes. Two main categories were found. Families view the role of health care professionals (HCPs) to "fix" the patient, whereas they as family members have an important role to protect and support the patient. Subcategories related to the role of the HCP include the following: multiple people treating the patient, completion of many tasks with "assessment of the damages," and professionalism/teamwork. Important subcategories related to the family member role include the following: providing information to the HCP, ensuring that the medical team is doing its job, and remaining close to provide physical and emotional comfort to the patient. Health care professionals are viewed positively by the family, and the role of the family is viewed as important. Families wanted to be present and would recommend the choice to other family members. The findings of this study support that the FPDR option is an intervention that helps family members build trust in HCPs, fulfills informational needs, allows family members to gain close proximity to the patient, and support their family member emotionally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-85
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of trauma nursing : the official journal of the Society of Trauma Nurses
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency
  • Critical Care
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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