Addressing the indirect and wider health impacts of COVID‑19 on families of children living with disabilities
Children with disabilities are one of the most marginalized and vulnerable groups of people. Families of children with disabilities encounter many challenges and inequities, such as economic and social disparities, poorer health and social exclusion. COVID‑19 has further exacerbated the inequities experienced by these families who have faced disproportionately greater challenges throughout COVID-19. Moreover, the pandemic has impacted how children with disabilities receive care including a greater emphasis on the provision of virtual care. Families of children with disabilities have experienced delays in their ability to access both healthcare and social care including rehabilitation. This lack of access to care is even more pronounced for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour families and those who are lower income. Even with improvements in the pandemic, it is unlikely that care will return to its pre-pandemic normal. To better address the indirect and wider health impacts of COVID‑19 on families of children with disabilities, needed is research that will result in an equitable and targeted model of care for these families. This study aims to develop a model of care using an equity lens that ameliorates the indirect and wider health impacts of COVID‑19 on families of children living with disabilities. Families from Manitoba (MB) will participate in family interviews. Focus groups combined with arts-based methods will take place involving service providers and families of children with disabilities in MB and across Canada. Recommendations for an equitable model of care that ameliorates the indirect and wider health impacts of COVID‑19 for families of children with disabilities in MB will emerge. Long-term, the work will be used to inform patient-oriented service delivery and outcomes nationwide for this currently underserved and vulnerable population which is vital for future health emergencies and pandemics.