This exploratory research study investigated the perception of parents about the level of anxiety their child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) experienced during induction of anesthesia for dental procedures with the parent present in the operating room. An educational pamphlet about the induction experience was developed to educate parents about the Parent Present Induction (PPI) of anesthesia and what to expect during induction of anesthesia and their role in alleviating their child’s level of anxiety. Participants completed an 11-item survey assessing parent-caregiver and child anxiety level and the usefulness of the PPI handout.
A convenience sample of nine English speaking parent-children with ASD dyads was recruited. The children with ASD were scheduled to undergo dental procedures under general anesthesia. After the child was safely under general anesthesia, and the parent left the operating room, the parent/caregivers was asked to complete an 11-item questionnaire that assessed parental perceptions of the child’s anxiety level and their own anxiety level. Parents received a written educational pamphlet explaining their role and what to expect during their child’s anesthesia induction.
Wilcoxon signed-rank test and a paired t- test were used to analyze survey responses. Results showed that parents perceived that their presence during induction of anesthesia helped to reduce the child’s anxiety: mu = 3, p = .005; t = 6.38, p - .000), as well as their anxiety. Findings also supported effectiveness of the educational handout in reducing parental anxiety.
This study supports parental presence during induction of anesthesia for the child with ASD and it confirms the need to provide parents information about anesthesia induction and what to expect during the procedure.