An Ethnographic Study of Emergency Department Encounters for Patients with ASD

Principal Investigator(s):
Sarabeth Broder-Fingert, MD
Grant Type:
Applied Research
Boston Medical Center
Boston, Massachusetts
Year Awarded:
Health and Sensory Issues


Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have a high level of utilization of healthcare services, specifically in the emergency department (ED). While there is ample evidence to show that ED encounters are challenging for both pediatric and adult patients with ASD, to our knowledge, there are no detailed accounts in the literature of what happens in the ED between patients with ASD and clinicians and staff in real-time. A better understanding of the interplay of the numerous challenges faced by patients with ASD during ED encounters will inform future research, as well as identify practical solutions for improving the ED experience for these patients.


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