Journal article

Emergency department utilisation by vulnerable paediatric populations during theCOVID-19 pandemic

John A Cheek, Simon S Craig, Adam West, Stuart Lewena, Harriet Hiscock

EMERGENCY MEDICINE AUSTRALASIA | WILEY | Published : 2020

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To determine if changes to community-based services have effected paediatric ED attendances for mental health issues and neonates during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: Analysis of total presentations, presentations with a mental health diagnoses and presentation of neonates during the early stages of the pandemic compared with the previous year for four Victorian hospitals. RESULTS: There was a 47.2% decrease in total presentations compared with 2019, with a 35% increase in mental health diagnoses and a 2% increase in neonatal presentations. CONCLUSION: Vulnerable paediatric patients are seeking care elsewhere during the pandemic because of the closure of community services.