Should parents be allowed in trauma rooms? 4 takeaways

Ninety percent of Americans think hospitals should allow parents to be with their child in the trauma room during care, according to a national survey conducted by Orlando (Fla.) Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children.

Arnold Palmer Hospital, a 158-bed pediatric facility, allows parents to follow their child into the trauma room alongside the medical team. Staff members accompany parents and keep them informed during trauma care.

Many hospitals are hesitant to implement this policy because they worry parents will distract medical providers. Yet Donald Plumley, MD, pediatric surgeon and medical director for pediatric trauma at Arnold Palmer Hospital, says parents can help guide critical care decisions.

Here are four takeaways from the survey.

1. Parents can provide information on their child's allergies, medical history and details on their injury or condition during trauma care, Dr. Plumley said.

2. Dr. Plumley said parents also calm pediatric patients, which enables the trauma team to administer less pain medication or refrain from sedating patients.

3. Asking parents to stay in separate waiting areas can add to their anxiety about their child's status. Parents who were previously required to stay in a separate waiting area can now be better informed and supported by staff members during trauma care, which can alleviate their fears and worries.

4. At Arnold Palmer Hospital, it is rare for a parent to choose to wait outside when given the option, according to Dr. Plumley. Approximately 95 percent of parents opt to be in the room during trauma care. "It's much harder for them to be in a waiting area knowing that their child is scared or in pain and not knowing anything about their condition or what is being done to treat them," Dr. Plumley said.

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