The basic steps of universal precautions are a necessity for all patient care. Additional steps may be important when caring for a patient with ASD to prevent contamination, injuries or needle sticks. Although not generally used for phlebotomy, gowns, masks, or protective eyewear may be needed if the patient you are working with is likely to become agitated or engage in unexpected movements. Strategies discussed in this toolkit may lessen the risk of agitation or unexpected movements. Caution should particularly be taken with handling needles during venipuncture with patients with ASD because he or she may not be able to understand or comply with safety instructions.
Preparation and ensuring necessary equipment is available can make routine procedures much more efficient. A checklist can be helpful. Additional child-friendly equipment that may be considered during venipuncture with patients with ASD includes:
Developing a brief written protocol may help staff and practitioners become more coordinated in their approach to patients with ASD. This protocol may include information such as:
Once a protocol is developed, staff training is essential. Prior to the appointment, staff should briefly discuss plans for the visit and be aware of decision points that will determine any changes in the visit.