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The SARS-2 (COVID -19) Pandemic has had a profound impact on the health and welfare of children. In the daily commerce of a community pediatric practice clinicians hear of the protean manifestations of the uncertainties, fears, and real stresses on the lives of kids. Kids’ days are upended. They can’t go to school. The routines of day-to-day life are disordered. Children sleep irregular hours, they eat differently, and they don’t get to stretch their limbs outdoors. Time is occupied in cyberspace, or with devices to distract them from the harsh realities of the hardships fostered by the Pandemic.
Ask any parent or clinician observing children. They are seeing dramatic increases in the number of children gaining prodigious amounts of weight in the months since the Pandemic commenced. Kids are depressed, anxious, and lonely without their friends and extended families. They are falling behind in school. Many are having self-destructive thoughts.
We see the current crises in children’s lives as an opportunity to provide innovative, sustainable, integrated care with a team consisting of pediatricians and nurse practitioners, behavioral health professionals, fitness and nutrition experts, and mindfulness and yoga professionals. The vision is to form unique approaches to enhancing the health of children through a careful analysis of every aspect of a child’s life, forming a plan of wellness that will be guided by a ”case manager”, resulting in fitter, healthier children. The goal is a peaceful child in a supportive family with improved daily health habits.
The objective is devising a nimble process that can marshal resources in unique ways to enhance a child’s health. “How can we help you to feel better?” "What are the skills you need to learn to help yourself?” “What resources does the family need to support you?”
Funds will be budgeted to form our team, devise a process for intervention, formulate metrics of outcomes, work within a community pediatric practice to implement the process, and assess outcomes to improve the process.
The ultimate goal is producing a new paradigm for the primary care of children and adolescents that will be family-friendly and will be the standard of the child-centered medical home.