With soaring cases of COVID-19 among children, the strain on the US paediatric healthcare system is increasing. As children start heading back to school a further rise in infections is expected. Hospitals are already nearing capacity in terms of paediatric beds and a further concern is having enough skilled staff to provide the specialist care for the children and their families.
The Children’s Hospital Association has asked Biden for support, including the release of provider relief funding and approval of the COVID-19 vaccine for children under 12 years old.
Staff shortages across healthcare caused by COVID-19, with burnout and the additional costs of hiring temporary staff (especially in specialist areas) is a big problem.
“The association detailed several crises children’s hospitals are facing. Chief among them are additional challenges in non-COVID-19 care. “A national children’s mental health crisis, well underway before the pandemic, has been exacerbated significantly by the disruption of social interaction and daily routines of school and family life experienced through the pandemic,” the letter said. “Layer on the financial stress on families and COVID-19 illness and death, and the existing mental health capacity in inpatient outpatient settings across the nation is being overwhelmed by children presenting with serious and severe mental and behavioral health needs.” Children’s hospitals are also worried about an impending wave of cases of other viruses such as respiratory syncytial virus. Infection rates and severity could rise as “children reengage after the extended isolation of the past year,” the letter said."