First up in the news this week is an interesting article I found at EMSWorld.com looking at how we handle and treat autistic patients. According to the CDC approximately one out of every 88 children in the US has some level of autism or some diagnosis along the autism spectrum. In the United Kingdom those levels may be even higher, according to recent studies.
Autism Education Program for First Responders
A new program called Prevent-Educate.org is aiming at teaching all of those that come in early contact with autistic patients during emergency situations how to effectively manage assess and treat these patients. The training is aimed at first responders and emergency department staff and offers five CEU credits for those areas that accept their training program. It includes a pretest and additional training on how to effectively communicate with autistic individuals and help reduce or eliminate dangerous behaviors that may occur.
In a perfect world 911 dispatchers will be able to convey information that we may be encountering an autistic patient before we arrive, however, we all know that that may not occur. We need to be prepared to identify autistic patients early in the assessment process to assist us with helping them and providing them with the care they need to assist us in heaping them. Part of the Prevent-Educate program includes training on how to identify common behaviors exhibited by autistic patients including hand flapping, repetition of something that is said to them, pacing back and forth, avoiding eye contact, pacing back and forth or bouncing behaviors.
Learning To Recognize Signs of Autism
All of this is indication that we may be dealing with an autistic patient and should change how we assess and manage them. The program also increases identification of common societal markers including ID bracelets worn by the individuals. There may also be window stickers on a home or magnets on a vehicle indicating an autistic patient is inside.
One important tip that I think is essential in dealing with any special needs individual is utilizing the resources of caregivers when one is available. Parents, caregivers, special nursing aides all know what works and doesn’t work with these patients.
Get the Facts on Handling Autistic Patients
There’s a lot more in this article that I can going to hear on the show and I would urge you to head over and check the article out this information there about how autistic patients deal differently with pain management and really can change the way you manage these very special patients in your community. Check it out.
There’s a link in the show notes for this episode and of course if you’re signed up for the email newsletter from the MedicCast you can also get those links sent directly to you in your email inbox every week.
Follow-up on the link for this and other news items as well as all of the additional resource links in the show notes for this episode – Mobile Pulse Ox for Your Phone and Episode 330.