New procedure aims to improve blood tests for people with autism

Click to play video: 'New blood test for people with autism'
New blood test for people with autism
WATCH: Today's Global News Hour at 6 Health Matters is brought to you by Pharmasave. Blood tests can be tough for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. LifeLabs has come up with a new procedure it hopes will help. Linda Aylesworth reports – Oct 31, 2017

Getting a blood test is a scary thought for many people. But it can be nothing short of a nightmare for people with autism, their families and the technicians tasked with extracting the blood.

“For a child in the Autism Spectrum Disorder, it can take about 30 to 45 minutes,” Susan Mallonga, a technician at LifeLabs, said. “They don’t like this, they will fight you.”

“Certainly coming into a very busy environment where blood tests might normally be taken, and busy waiting rooms, that child will often have meltdowns,” Pacific Autism Family Network medical officer Suzanne Lewis added.

The difficulty with blood tests can lead to delayed diagnoses and treatments for people with autism.

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Recently, the Pacific Autism Family Network and LifeLabs partnered to create a unique room at Richmond’s GoodLife Family Autism Hub designed to soothe patients during a stressful time.

The room — the first of its kind in Canada — features sensory lights and a place to play videos designed “to make a child feel comfortable and settled and interested in their environment around them rather than focusing on what might be perceived as negative in terms of the blood test,” Lewis said.

Specially-trained technicians visit weekly to take blood samples while causing as little trauma as possible.

“When we heard from the families how difficult it was to get the work done, we knew we needed to do something,” LifeLabs community engagement director Louise Nagy said.

WATCH MORE: Samantha Falk talks to LifeLabs CEO Sue Paish about the new room at the Pacific Autism Hub in Richmond aimed at helping calm patients during blood work. 
Click to play video: 'LifeLabs CEO Talks About New Autism Hub for Patients'
LifeLabs CEO Talks About New Autism Hub for Patients



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