News Medical: Experts assess the impact of COVID-19 on pediatric patients with special needs
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children with disabilities has not received much attention, perhaps because the disease disproportionately affects older individuals. In this special issue of the Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine experts assess the impact of the pandemic on pediatric patients with special needs, their caregivers, and healthcare providers. They also focus on the growing importance of telemedicine and provide insights and recommendations for mitigating the impact of the virus in the short and long term.
This special issue addresses many aspects of COVID-19 in vulnerable children with special needs, including spasticity management, autism spectrum disorders, CP, neuromuscular disorders, tracheostomies, MIS-C, schooling, and how to deliver medicines safely and effectively. It also considers the impact of the pandemic on healthcare providers in training including the need for disability-conscious medical education, training, and practice; the disparate influence of the pandemic on Black, Latinx, and Native American marginalized populations; as well as the telemedicine experience and role of virtual education.
COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of telehealth across many medical specialties and is a special focus of this issue. "There has been an expansion of telemedicine offerings by many different pediatric rehabilitation providers," explain Dr. McLaughlin and Dr. Vercler. "Historically, pediatric rehabilitation patients are more difficult to transport, may come from a more challenged socioeconomic background, and have more medical co-morbidities than the general pediatric population. By more clinics offering telemedicine appointments, this may limit exposures to COVID-19 and decrease the caregiver burden if medical care can be provided within the home setting."
The Guest Editors add that "the benefit of telemedicine and its expanded use may continue to benefit patients with rehabilitation needs.
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Learn more about Protecting Children with Special Needs during COVID-19