Transition to Adulthood during COVID-19: Lessons Learned from Canadian Youth with Special Healthcare Needs and their Families to Foster Effective Transitional Care Interventions.
Over the past 18 months, COVID‑19 has impacted nearly every aspect of our usual ways of living. For Youth with Special Healthcare Needs (YSHCN), COVID‑19 created even more disruption such as the fear of COVID‑19 worsening fragile health, disruption of usual daily routines, especially school, lack of usual health and social supports and services, and social isolation. While we know from the YSHCN and their parents in our practices that the pandemic has had a serious negative impact on their mental health, some positive outcomes have been reported. For example, healthcare providers, YSHCN, and parents have discovered that online options for visiting health care providers, accessing supports and transition offer more flexibility and ease of attending appointments, and in the timing of transfer to adult services. This study will explore the impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic on the health of YSHCN during their transition to adult services (between 16-24 years of age). We will examine experiences in both healthcare transitions as well as co-occurring life transitions for this population. Through collection of data through interviews and surveys, we will get a better understanding of the negative outcomes of COVID‑19 for the youth and their families, as well as opportunities the pandemic has created for this population. We will also gather data around solutions that are working, those which should be started and ideas for the future.