Patients with FASD: Tips for Healthcare Providers

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, frontline health care providers are working day and night to protect the health and safety of individuals all across Canada. We honor and respect their sacrifice and commitment to Canadians in this challenging time. This blog post from CanFASD provides a few tips to help frontline health care workers manage the specialized needs of individuals with FASD during COVID-19.

A hospital visit can be an overwhelming and stressful experience for individuals with FASD and their families. While families and caregivers often have strategies in place at home to help limit exposure to sensory information, the sights, sounds, and smells of a hospital or health care facility may be overwhelming for some individuals. A well-prepared, FASD-informed team of health care providers and administrators is essential in helping manage the stress and anxiety that individuals and families may experience and in ensuring that their visit to their health care provider runs smoothly.

Be prepared

  • Invest in ongoing training opportunities for your staff to ensure that they have the up-to-date knowledge and resources to best support every patient. For FASD specific training courses, check out the list of online learning programs that CanFASD provides.
  • If you have an FASD-informed team and FASD specific supports, advertise this information on your website to put caregivers at ease before they arrive.
  • Designate certain areas as quiet spaces and provide sensory accommodations in these locations. Be sure to clearly communicate where these services are.

Improve wait times

  • Wherever possible, try to decrease the wait time for individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families. Prolonged time spent in a sensory rich environment may trigger anxiety and challenging behaviours.

Modify the environment where possible

  • Replace paper gowns and paper coverings on exam tables with cloth to reduce sensory stimulation.
  • Dim overhead lighting.

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