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'Passport' aims to help autistic patients communicate with nurses

An autism “passport” has been launched by a national charity to help nurses and other staff care for hospital patients with learning disabilities.

The free resource to assist healthcare staff working with patients with autism was launched today by Baroness Angela Browning and the National Autistic Society (NAS).

“I am glad that a resource like this is in my corner”

Leo Capella

The charity noted that a visit to the unfamiliar environment of a hospital can be an incredibly challenging and distressing experience for the 700,000 people in the UK affected by autism.

Backed by the Department of Health and NHS England, the autism hospital passport is a short booklet designed to accompany the general notes that clinicians refer to when treating a patient.

It is designed for people with autism to complete and use when they are admitted to hospital for either routine or emergency treatment.

The passport contains personalised information and further essential information about the condition to help with communication.

Baroness Browning, who is vice president of the NAS, created the passport with the help of the charity, clinicians and patients.

She said: “There is emerging evidence that people with autism have poorer health outcomes than the general population, so it is vitally important that their use of health services is made as straight-forward as possible.

“The hospital passport contains essential and useful information for professionals about the particular needs of a patient with autism – to make that patient’s stay more safe and comfortable, and to ensure communication is maintained and the incidence of distress or misunderstanding is reduced,” she added.

Leo Capella, who has Asperger syndrome, was involved in the development of the passport. “I am glad that a resource like this is in my corner,” he said.

NAS

The autism hospital passport was launched by Baroness Browning, care and support minister Norman Lamb, and NAS chief executive Mark Lever at an event at the Royal College of Physicians on Thursday 17 July.

Carers and health professionals can download the passport by from the NAS website

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