Impacts of COVID‑19 on Preventive Primary Care for Young Children: Consequences and Innovations

Bayoumi, Imaan | $500,000

Ontario Queen's University 2022 CIHR Operating Grant

The COVID‑19 pandemic has significantly disrupted access to health care for young children including shifts to include virtual care (by telephone or video), and long wait times for specialty care. Preventive care in young children involves regularly scheduled visits with primary care providers. Such visits are important for early detection of and intervention for various health problems, including early intervention for developmental delay, feeding problems, and growth, and addressing food insecurity and preventing injuries. We aim to understand the impacts of the COVID‑19 pandemic on primary preventive care for young children (0-5 years old). We will also identify barriers and clinic-based innovations and family-led solutions to problems accessing preventive care during the COVID‑19 pandemic. We will use data from primary care electronic medical records from Ontario and Quebec and study changes in the pre-COVID era (March 12, 2015-March 11, 2020) and during COVID era (March 12, 2020-March 11, 2023) in preventive care visits, child outcomes, and inequalities in these utilization and outcome measures. Primary preventive care in early childhood is important for prevention of future health problems. We will work with knowledge users to apply our study findings to inform health system planning, with the ultimate goal of mitigating potentially detrimental lifelong outcomes of missed or deferred care for young children.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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