Objective: As a primary objective, this study purports to develop guidelines to better care for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), particularly regarding these children's preparation for anesthesia and radiologic procedures.
Methods: Using a Delphi method with an online distribution of questionnaire, guidelines for caring for children with ASD were created. Twenty-one participants were included in the expert panel. These participants were working with children with ASD in several anesthesia and radiology departments in Sweden. A list of items was created from a previous survey and the literature. In the first round, the items with <60% agreement were discarded. Items were merged, and a new list was created. Two more similar rounds were performed. In the last 2 rounds, 21 participants responded, and 80% agreement was considered to be consensus.
Results: The final guidelines consisted of 14 items and a checklist of 16 factors. The 5 areas covered by the items and the checklist were as follows: planning involving parents/guardians, features in the environment, and use of time, communication, and the health care professionals. The organization was important in making it possible for the health care professional to care for the individual child according to the child's needs. It was important to involve the parents/guardians to obtain knowledge about the functioning of the child.
Conclusion: A caring encounter involving a child with ASD in the anesthesia and radiology contexts requires advance planning, catered specifically to the individual needs of each child. To accomplish this, general knowledge regarding ASD and ASD's particular manifestation in the child entrusted to their care, is required from the health care workers. The organization needs to have structures in place to facilitate this process.
Wolters Kluwer, 2017.