Uncovering the Wider Impact of COVID‑19 Measures on the Lives of Children with Complex Care Needs and their Families
Background. Children with complex care needs are a vulnerable population served by our pediatric health and social care systems. Prior to the COVID‑19 pandemic, caregivers of children with complex care needs reported numerous gaps in programs and services including a lack of care coordination and communication between service providers. COVID‑19 public health measures resulted in rapid changes to many health and social supports across the Maritime provinces that these families rely on to maintain and optimize health and well-being. It is unclear how these changes impacted children with complex care needs and their families. Objectives. This research aims to understand how policy and services changes implemented in the Maritime during the COVID‑19 pandemic impacted the health and well-being of children with complex care needs and their families. This will be achieved by: 1) Mapping COVID‑19 public health restrictions and service changes impacting this population; and 2) Exploring with families living with complex care needs how they experienced these changes. Methods. We will work with our research partners to understand the experiences of families living with complex care needs in the Maritimes. We will conduct an environmental scan of publicly available documents to identify policy and service changes during the pandemic relevant to this population. We will also conduct interviews with policy makers to further understand the development and implementation of policy and service changes. Finally, we will interview children and caregivers from the Maritimes to explore their experiences with these changes. Impact. Children and families with complex needs experience many service and support gaps in the Maritimes. Our approach will allow us to identify key components for building a responsive COVID‑19 inter and intra provincial policy and service strategy to meet the needs of this vulnerable population.