Little is known regarding medical neglect in children with Life-Threatening Complex Chronic Conditions (LT-CCCs). We examined the impact of COVID-19 on concern for medical neglect in this population.
Qualitative interview study of multi-disciplinary health care providers (HCPs) from critical care, palliative care, and complex care services on the topic of medical neglect in children with LT-CCCs. We used inductive thematic analysis to generate themes. Findings presented herein are derived from a sub-analysis of the larger study that focused specifically on discussion of COVID-19 by HCPs.
9 of the 20 HCPs interviewed mentioned COVID-19 as influencing situations of potential medical neglect. These 9 represent all disciplines and teams. Interviewees reported COVID-19 increased burden on parents and likelihood of medical neglect due to: 1) Familial distancing from medical and social support and, 2) Changes to medical care delivery that impaired the medical community’s ability to engage and support families.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fragility of the medical and social systems that supports families of children with LT-CCCs. These findings are consistent with previous literature that suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the risk for child maltreatment. It additionally highlights the vulnerability of this patient population.