Sabrina Brodofski Sabrina Brodofski

Sabrina Brodofski is a Registered Nurse from Maitland, Ontario Canada; currently completing her Master of Nursing degree. Sabrina started her degree in the course-based stream, however decided to transfer into the thesis-based stream due to her passion and desire to help make healthcare supportive, accessible and inclusive for individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Post masters, Sabrina hopes to continue her research while obtaining a PhD and eventually entering a career path in policy and program development and educating nurses on ASD.

Title: Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Emergency Care: A Review

Abstract: Background: Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) average a higher utilization of emergency departments (ED) than those who are neurotypical due to other comorbidities. Coupled with the rise in diagnosis of ASD, it is imperative to understand the experiences, barriers, and challenges of both adults with ASD and nurses while accessing healthcare in emergency departments.
Method: A literature review was conducted using three databases – CINHAL, Medline and PsychInfo. Key search terms were organized into three headings: population, context, and sub-population. A qualitative synthesis of the findings was completed due to its ability to bring together the articles and form a cohesive set of themes.
Results: The search yielded eight (8) papers. Three key themes were identified: (1) healthcare professionals educational needs – such as understanding what ASD is, how to assess and treat a patient with ASD and how to recognize sensory overload; (2) the physical environment of the ED and the lack of policies or procedures to help reduce sensory stimuli within EDs; and (3) the need for better communication – specifically what is the best way to communicate with individuals with ASD and to learn how words and meanings can be taken very literally for patients with ASD.
Conclusions: The limited research on adults with ASD accessing the ED underscores a significant knowledge gap in the education and training of healthcare providers within EDs and a lack of policies, procedures, or best practice guidelines to address the barriers and challenges individuals with ASD face when accessing the ED.


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