Mobility Device Shows Promise for Perioperative Transfers for Children with ASD

April 26, 2021

Multi-position Configuration Mobile Chair-Bed Could Make Medical and Dental Procedures Less Traumatizing

Guiding a typical child through a needed medical or dental procedure is challenging on its own, but managing a child with autism through a similar procedure can prove exceptionally stressful. Changes in routine, unfamiliar people, strange lights, new noises are all stressors that can put children with sensory sensitivities on edge. Researchers in Singapore recently set out to help children with autism tolerate medical procedures better. They tested a new mobility device which could make perioperative transfers easier not only for children with special needs but also for their parents and attending healthcare workers. Their pilot device is a multi-position configuration mobile chair-bed system with a restraining mode. In a resting position, the chair resembles a race car seat. When it reclines, the device looks like a massage chair. Since these two types of chairs are forms of seats that children are likely to be familiar with, sitting in this prototype seat was thought to cause less anxiety. The chair utilizes three types of restraint modes, which is needed to keep children immobile for safety reasons during medical and dental procedures. The restraint modes consist of an over the hip adjustable restraint (like an airplane seat belt), and an overhead restraint (similar to an amusement park restraint) and a combination of the two. A key benefit of this new device is its ability to reduce manpower and to lessen the amount of physical restraint required during patient transfer into the operating room. It also helps with patient handling, lifting, and transfer during perioperative patient care. To assess the effectiveness of the chair, the research group had healthcare professionals (HCP) use the new device on children with autism for medical or dental procedures. After the procedures were completed, HCPs, parents, and children were surveyed about their experience. Overall, 93.8% of HCPs and 86.7% of parents would recommend the use of the chair for children with autism. Both HCPs and parents viewed the device as an improvement in managing and providing safe perioperative movement. Both groups also determined that the chair promotes ease of anesthesia induction for uncooperative children. The participating children endorsed the device for the induction of anesthesia (73.9%), as a dental chair (82.6%), and for intra-hospital transfer (95.7%). 

Original Study

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