How this Cleveland Clinic hospital is accommodating patients with autism

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Akron (Ohio) General Hospital is working to build a more inclusive, accommodating healthcare environment for patients with autism spectrum disorder through an initiative with the Autism Society of Greater Akron, reports ABC affiliate News 5 Cleveland.

Since 2017, the hospital has trained more than 650 employees on how to identify a person with autism and make accommodations as needed. The training is based on curriculum from the ASGA.

"It is often difficult for young adults with autism to transition from seeing pediatric providers to an adult setting," Laurie Cramer, the group's executive director, told News 5 Cleveland. "This initiative is designed to help change that here in Akron."

Other efforts to create a more inclusive care environment include the use of sensory-friendly materials in care areas and the adoption of communication tools like tablets and picture charts. Akron General is also updating its EHR to alert clinicians of patients' autism and changing patient flow processes to place patients in quieter rooms sooner.

As a result of its efforts, Akron General received an "Autism Friendly Hospital" designation from ASGA.

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