The Gazette - Eastern Iowa



August 4, 20012
The Gazette - Eastern Iowa
Letters to the Editor:  Develop policy to allow family in ER
Hospitals should have formal, written policies, supported by evidence, to address family presence in the emergency department. A trip to the emergency department can be frightening for patients and their families (re: “Allowing E. Iowa families in emergency rooms isn’t clear-cut decision,” July 25 Gazette).

The question of allowing family members to be present in the emergency department is one into which the Emergency Nurses Association has conducted significant research. That research supports allowing family presence in serious situations and having formal policy governing this issue. We have found little or no evidence to indicate that family member presence during an invasive procedure or resuscitation is detrimental to the patient, the family or the health care team.

The Emergency Nurses Association recommends that health care organizations: develop a written policy of offering family members the option of being present for invasive procedures or resuscitation of a patient; designate a health professional to explain what is happening and comfort family members who are present; and develop and disseminate public education materials regarding this option.

Gail Lenehan
Higham, Mass.
President, Emergency Nurses Association