Study Aims and Objectives
Discuss the feasibility and efficacy of utilizing an autism-specific care plan when children with autism spectrum disorder are seen in a hospital setting.
Methods- Sample, Procedure, Study Measures, Analysis
Autism-specific care plans are plans that families fill out discussing their child’s specific needs- this can include sensory, behavioral, safety, and communication information that might help a healthcare professional provide appropriate and successful interventions. Information about autism-specific care plans was sent to both providers and families, encouraging both parties to use care plans when a child with ASD is going to be seen in a hospital. Families who had recent hospital visits were then surveyed and asked about their interaction with their providers and the care planning process.
Results- Main Findings
Of 142 ASD patients surveyed who had hospital visits within the 2013 calendar year, only 33 utilized an autism-specific care plan during their appointments. The most common reason for not using a care plan was that families were unaware it existed. Families who used care plans reported higher levels of satisfaction with their care, and felt that their providers were better-equipped to work with their children with ASD.
Conclusion- Summary Statement
Autism-specific care plans are beneficial for both families and providers in improving quality of care for children with ASD in hospitals. They are relatively easy to use and improve patient-provider interactions. To ensure that autism-specific care plans are utilized, it may be best to market this tool directly to families, rather than suggesting providers go through the care plan with their patients upon arrival.