Evidence is mounting that family presence during resuscitation and invasive procedures is beneficial to patients and their families. Meeting psychosocial needs in a time of crisis exemplifies care driven by the needs of patients and their families.

Research and public opinion polls indicate that the majority of patients, patients’ families, and consumers believe that patients’ family members should be offered the opportunity to be present during emergency procedures and at the time of their loved one’s death.2–13 

Despite recommendations from professional organizations, consensus conferences, joint position and policy statements, and clinical practice guidelines regarding family presence during resuscitation,14–26  only 5% of critical care units in the United States,27  8% in Canada,28  and 7% in Europe29  have written policies that allow family presence. Surveys of nurses’ practice indicate that many, if not most, critical care nurses have been asked by patients’ family...

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