Healthcare Experiences of Parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Phenomenological Study

Healthcare Experiences of Parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Phenomenological Study
Thesis
Description: 

Today, more children in the United States are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes, and pediatric AIDS combined. Research is currently being conducted regarding the causes, prevalence and treatment for Autism, however little is known regarding care for this population in healthcare settings. The purpose of this Interpretative Phenomenological study is to explore the lived healthcare experiences of mothers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The sample for this study was composed of two mothers of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. After rigorous review of the interview material, two major themes were identified regarding the participants’ healthcare experiences. First, the mothers reported that they had to be their child’s main advocate when it came to coordination of care. They did not feel as if their pediatricians’ office was well prepared with information on special services or treatments available. Second, neither mother has noticed any special treatment by the provider or nurses in regards to their child’s diagnosis. The mothers expressed the feeling that their child was treated like they did not have an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis. Both themes provide an opportunity for improvement in proving healthcare to Autistic. Due to the increasing prevalence of autism, additional research is recommended in all areas but specifically in nursing care. This study identifies a gap in educating nurses on the best way to care for this patient population. Caregivers need to feel comfortable with the nursing care their children are receiving, and nurses need to feel comfortable providing safe and effective care to their patients. Increased education and awareness in the nursing community could lead to increased patient advocacy and assistance to parents as they coordinate care for their children.

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WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00006078
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