The aim of this study was to obtain an understanding of what parents of children with severe autism experience in connection with their child's anaesthetics, in the presence and absence of the perioperative dialogue. Twelve parents who had experience of their child receiving anaesthetics on one or more occasions took part in this study, in which anaesthesia care was organized as a perioperative dialogue. Data were collected by means of conversational interviews, and the text was interpreted using a hermeneutic approach. The hermeneutic text interpretation led to a new understanding based on the knowledge that in the absence of the perioperative dialogue, previous anaesthetics had meant the suffering of care by the following: a hopeless struggle, unspeakable suffering and a disgraceful scenario. However, continuity in the perioperative dialogue provided to be a way out of the suffering by being received by warm hands, being received by a known face and a subtle interplay between the child and nurse. Although health and well-being may be unobtainable goals in this special context of care, the findings provided ample descriptions of the positive effects of the perioperative dialogue, which is all the more valuable when dealing with children who will need repeated anaesthetics in the future.
© 2012 The Authors. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences © 2012 Nordic College of Caring Science.