Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - 13

The long
road ahead
More than two years after COVID-19 shook the world to its core, signs of
pre-pandemic life are emerging. But experts caution against thinking the
pandemic is over. COVID-19 has exacerbated what was already a mental
and behavioral health crisis among children and adolescents, and despite a
return to routines, the data is stark. Here's a look at how kids are doing and
how children's hospitals can prepare for the long road ahead.
By Megan McDonnell Busenbark
H
eather Huszti has vivid memories of
March 2020-the meetings, the words
and the concerns about an epidemic
that was about to change life as everyone
knew it. " When COVID first started, I can
remember sitting in a leadership meeting
with our team of mental health providers,
and we were saying, 'What's going on here?
Maybe we're going to have to close down
for a couple of weeks, and then we'll be
back-and everything will be as it was,' "
says Huszti, chief psychologist at Children's
Health of Orange County (CHOC). " I went
through the literature because lots of people
were asking, 'What's the effect going to be
on kids?' Of course, there was no literature
on something like this. "
The closest comparison Huszti could
find was literature on the effects of severe
acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and
H1N1 quarantines, as well as natural disasters.
Even though the magnitude of the
COVID-19 pandemic is much higher than
those events, Huszti could see parallels
between them. " Researchers who followed
kids for many years after a disaster or
traumatic event found increased depression
and anxiety that continued for three
to five years, " says Huszti. " Although those
weren't pandemics, we're seeing it play out
like the literature suggests. "
Huszti says it's natural to want to leap
to a post-COVID world, and many signs
make it seem like we're there. Children and
adolescents around the country have been
back in the classroom for some time now,
and signs of routine life have sprung. But
the pandemic exacerbated a behavioral and
mental health crisis among kids, and the
crisis has only grown.
KEY LESSONS
COVID check-in:
One year later
A CONVERSATION WITH
David Rubin, M.D., MSCE,
director of PolicyLab
and of Population Health
Innovation at Children's
Hospital of Philadelphia
(CHOP) and professor
of pediatrics at the
Perelman School of
Medicine at the University
of Pennsylvania.
CHT: When we spoke a
little over a year ago for
a Children's Hospitals
Today story about the
effects of COVID-19 on
children, you said you
were seeing a widening
disparity of educational
attainment, because
districts couldn't be in
school. Now that children
around the country are
back in the classroom,
are they caught up? Or
are we still seeing the
effect of school closings
and remote learning?
RUBIN: I think those
assessments are
ongoing. I don't want
it to seem like this is
over. There's still a lot of
disruption. I think largely
our suburban school
districts have gotten back
to a routine, but there
are many schools still
struggling with functional
closures and lots of kids
being out. We're still very
much in the thick of it
right now.
Continued on page 14
CHILDREN'S HOSPITALS TODAY Summer 2022
13

Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022

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Contents
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - Cover1
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - Cover2
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - Contents
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - 2
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - 3
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - 4
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - 5
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - 6
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - 7
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Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - 9
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Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - 11
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - 12
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - 13
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - 14
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - 15
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Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - 25
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Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - 28
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - Cover3
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - Cover4
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