The COVID‑19 Pandemic and Eating Disorders in Children and Adolescents: Recommendations from the Canadian Consensus Panel
The negative impact of COVID‑19 and the associated social isolation on mental health has been well-described in terms of heightened anxiety and depression. Literature on the impact on individuals with eating disorders (ED) and their families is only just emerging. In most settings across Canada only urgent outpatient visits or admission to inpatient units are currently permitted, with ambulatory care having been suspended. Given these challenges, we propose to complete a scoping review of the literature and synthesize the knowledge available on the impact of COVID-19, as well as virtual treatments and other online technologies for children and adolescents with EDs and their families in order to develop practice guidelines. Experts in guideline methodology, library science, and EDs have partnered on this knowledge synthesis project which will use several internationally recognized frameworks including the Appraisal of Guidelines, Research, and Evaluation (AGREE II) tool, and the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) system to synthesize and evaluate the evidence. Our team has recently published Canadian Practice Guidelines for treating children and adolescents with EDs and is perfectly positioned to respond to this rapid research funding opportunity. Many of our recommended interventions for children and adolescents with EDs are focused on in-person treatment, which currently cannot be delivered. New recommendations would help clinicians, administrators, and policy-makers to provide the best possible care in these unprecedented times, and ultimately help thousands of Canadians with EDs and their families.