Emergency Pediatric Psychiatric Services in the time of COVID

During the pandemic, emergency care has mirrored the rest of our community and nation in many ways. Towards the start of the pandemic, fewer children and families sought help in the emergency room for medical or psychiatric reasons, preferring to stay at home and wait to see what would come next. The children who did come for help seemed more acute, as if they had tried to “wait and see” from home but just couldn’t. Later, as COVID continued to spread in waves of uncertainty, there seemed to be another shift in the presentation of children. Not only did children present more sharply, but families and caregivers were burned out from all those months of trying to keep everything together. As we head into yet another wave of “post-COVID” progress, we are still seeing high acuity patients, burnt-out families and also medical complications to be expected after this long hibernation as children and families become more interactive. resume activities. New challenges include emergency room opportunities to support children in need of care, families in need of support and rest, and our communities in need of healing and moving forward together. We work to ensure that patients who enter for behavioral health reasons are treated with dignity and respect, just as we treat all children in need of emergency care.

Submitted by Amanda M. Dettmer on October 04, 2021

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