My [adopted] son is a 17y/o ex-premie who had grade 3/4 IVH's as a result of his prematurity and his birth mother's IV drug use. He has a VP shunt. He has had LOTS of surgeries, mostly minor ENT proceedures, or anesthesia for imaging studies, and, in the last 2 years, about 3 for his shunt.
I have been present for lots of stuff, and I can tell when I need to be there and when I need to NOT be there. I aslo know when I need to be at the head end of the bed, getting him to hold still, calm down, focus on breathing, etc.
I need to be there for both of us!!! For me, so that when a Doc comes in on rounds, I can find out what the plan of care is, what I need to prepare him for, when do I have to get there in the am (I really try not to spend the night, I can't sleep), make sure he gets a good diet, etc. Make sure they don't transfer him out of the IMU because "he's not sick enough". Yeah, but he only needs to herniate his brain once, and he hasn't stopped hurling from the post-op pressure change yet. If he's out on the floor and gets in trouble, no one will know for a while. Basically, be the mother! He wants me there. That doesn't stop him from flirting with the nurses, esp. the blonde ones. (Mom, she's a blondie. I know, honey, I can see her from here.)
I think it's different when it's a pt. with a chronic problem who needs someone there to advocate and knows the whole story. A pt. like my son who's "intellectually challenged", and/or has a complicated medical history. I think we may need them in the room to answer questions.
In the NICU, we have parents hanging all over us all the time. Sometimes, they are VERY high maintanence ALL the time, not even when there's anything happening. We do get used to it. I've had things go great when the parents are there, and go straight for the hopper as well. Once, I had to grab a baby out of the mom's arms, put her back in the incubator and suction the snot out of her ET tube--all while a local cable channel was videotaping me for a documentary about premies!!!!
I could see out the corner of my eye that Mom was crying, so I said, "I'll be with you in a minute, Mom". Afterward, I put my arm around her and "mothered" her, too, explaining what happened, etc. Much to my surprise, that little interaction was on TV, too!
I guess what I'm trying to say is that this is an individual thing, but that the more families are there to see what goes on, IMHO, the more comfortable we get at actually including them in our care and I think that's NOT a horrible thing.
All that having been said, there are exceptions, like they're armed, they're wailing so loud you can't hear what's being ordered, they've recently shot up. Those folks--outta here!