Hispanic Parents' Perspective on Early PACU Visitation

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Many reports indicate that family member presence in the PACU may decrease anxiety levels in both patients and family members. PACUs, nevertheless, often restrict family visitation because of the close proximity to ORs, complexity, and the fast-paced recovery environment. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of parental presence on the anxiety levels of children ages 9 to 18, observed behavior of children ages 6 to 8, and reported parental anxiety in the pre- and postoperative periods. The quasi-experimental design used a sample of 72 parent-patient dyads, predominately Hispanic, who completed either the pediatric (9-12) or teenager/adult Speilberger State Anxiety forms. Forty (40) parents were placed in the PACU with their children, and 32 remained in the Waiting Room. PACU nurses coded observations of parents and observations of patients aged 6 to 8 years. FLACC or numeric pain scales scores were also collected. Results showed no difference in parental anxiety between those who were placed in the PACU or Waiting Room. Patients aged 13 to 18 with parents in-PACU had significantly lowered anxiety scores than patients with parents in-Waiting Room (t = 2.51, P = .02). Anxiety scores for younger children (9-12 years old) were not lowered postoperatively regardless of parent placement. Regardless of age, patients with parents in-PACU showed statistically significantly greater pain pre-operatively compared with patients with in-Waiting Room parents (t = 3.15, P = .002), but this difference disappeared postoperatively.

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