Family present during code of patient

Specialties Emergency


Would like some feedback on how other ER nurses feel about having family at bedside during a code. Our ER is getting ready to adopt a policy that permits family presence during a code if the staff feels patient and family will benefit from the experience. Some of our staff have very strong feelings about this. How do you feel and why do you feel this way? Do you have an "legal" backup for your answer? thanks

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

In a busy ER most nurses and staff are very comfortable in codes. In my 10 years in a level one truama center, I never had an issue with families being present. Our codes were calm, precise and very focused on the pt. We tried to allow the family to touch the patient if only for a moment and if only a foot or hand.

Never had any issues. The ENA fully supports family presence. Its not about us its about the pt and their family.

Specializes in Spinal Cord injuries, Emergency+EMS.

the answer is a case to case approach

assume that generally , if you have staff available, that family will be allowed in , who the member of staff is is immaterial, as long as they have enough knowledge to support the family - a higher levle Support worker is sufficient, as others have suggestedmaybe a social worker ... the 'Nurse' bits once the conclusion is reachedwill still be done by RNS, usualy by the 'lead' RN for the team

In my facility as well it is a case by case basis. We do however experience more family members present during pediatric codes rather than adults. We have never had a problem with family members being present in the room (other than keeping our own emotions in check upon hearing the gut wrenching wails of the parents..a natural process IMO)

I will say there have been a few times (just a few that I can recall) where it has been my opinion that the family members should not be in the room. Examples: traumatic arrest where the patients body is so broken and disfigured that I can not see how any good or closure would be gained from the viewing experience. In these cases, I think it's better clean and arrange the body as quickly as possible prior to family viewing. Just my opinion..results may vary

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