Allowing Parents in the Trauma Room

Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children is leading the charge in inclusive, family-centered care by allowing parents into the trauma room while their children are being treated.

Although most hospitals ask parents to stay in a separate waiting room, a new national survey conducted by Orlando Health found that 90 percent of Americans think that parents should be able to stay with their children. Arnold Palmer Hospital is already seeing benefits for patients being treated for a life-threatening injury or condition. Oftentimes, parents are able to keep their children calm which can help the trauma team forgo sedation or administer less pain medication.

"Many hospitals are hesitant to allow parents in the trauma room because medical personnel worry they'll be a distraction, but their presence is actually very valuable," said Donald Plumley, MD, a pediatric surgeon and medical director for pediatric trauma at Arnold Palmer Hospital. "Parents help guide our critical care decisions by providing information on their child such as allergies, medical history and details on their injury or condition."

A dedicated staff member is assigned to each parent and is responsible for offering support and for keeping them informed of their child’s status. At most hospitals, parents are asked to stay in a separate waiting area, but according to Dr. Plumley, parents rarely chose this option when given the choice to be in the trauma room.