Practice Alert Supports Family Presence Policies

May 07, 2024

Added to Collection

Updated AACN Practice Alert summarizes evidence to support and welcome families who wish to be present during resuscitation, invasive procedures and other vulnerable health events

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. – May 7, 2024 – A practice alert from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) reinforces that it’s time to return to offering families the opportunity to be present during resuscitation and invasive procedures..

Managing the COVID-19 pandemic involved widespread restrictions to visitation, and many hospitals and other healthcare organizations have continued to limit access to progressive and critical care units, even though the COVID-19 public health emergency ended in 2023.

“Family presence should once again be the expected practice, with families welcomed and supported during vulnerable health events,” said co-author Margo Halm, PhD, RN, NEA-BC. “We’ve made tremendous progress over the past 20 years, with extensive research demonstrating the benefits of family presence to all involved. We cannot return to policies that ban families from the bedside and relegate them to waiting rooms and hallways.”

The AACN Practice Alert “Facilitating Family Presence During Resuscitation and Invasive Procedures Throughout the Life Span” summarizes expected nursing practice before, during and after an event. It also covers organizational support, such as actions from unit leadership, policies, training, and the establishment of designated family presence facilitators. More than 125 references are included.

AACN first issued a practice alert on family presence in 2004, marking a transformation in how families were treated during invasive procedures. Today, 12 other professional organizations have also developed policy statements, guidelines and consensus recommendations supporting family presence.

Original author Cathie Guzetta, PhD, RN, joined Halm and Halley Rappel, PhD, RN, and Jessica Sexton, MSN, RN, to update the practice alert.

The family presence practice alert is the most recent addition to AACN’s library of clinical resources reflecting current evidence-based practice and research. Each AACN Practice Alert seeks to ensure excellence in practice and safe work environments. Previously released alerts address topics such as pain management, feeding tube placement, pulmonary artery pressure monitoring, assessing and managing delirium, and aspiration prevention.

Each AACN Practice Alert also outlines the scope and impact of the problem, summarizes the expected nursing practice, and provides supporting evidence and research. Practice alerts are available at no cost on the AACN website at, by signing in to a free AACN online account.

About the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses: For more than 50 years, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) has been dedicated to acute and critical care nursing excellence. The organization’s vision is to create a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families in which acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution. AACN is the world’s largest specialty nursing organization, with about 130,000 members and nearly 200 chapters in the United States.

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, 27071 Aliso Creek Road, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656; 949-362-2000;;;