Handle with Care: Top Ten Tips a Nurse Should Know Before Caring
For a Hospitalized Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Adriane A. Jolly
The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is on the rise in the United States.
More children with this disorder are requiring hospitalization and have an extended
length of stay once hospitalized. The pediatric nurse is often unaware of or
unprepared to offer the care that this special population requires. Sharing information
obtained through repeated encounters with this population may lead to a
less stressful and safer hospital stay for the child with autism, the family, and the
pediatric nurse. Items about which the nurse should be aware when caring for a
child with autism include the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder, the importance
of family involvement, identifying the best way to communicate with the
child, minimizing change, incorporating the child’s home routine into the stay,
creating a safe environment, identifying emotional disturbances, involving a
multi-disciplinary team of experts on admission, listening to the family, and creating
a record of this information to be shared among staff members.