Annual Meeting Reviews

COVID and Pediatric Pain: Impact, Resources, & Next Steps

By Alyson Hermé, PhD and Alvina Rosales, PhD
Pediatric Psychologists
Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California

Dr. Rachel Zoffness’ presentation titled 'COVID and Pediatric Pain: Impact, Resources, & Next Steps' opened with an outline of negative biopsychosocial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on youth with chronic pain. Since the onset of the pandemic, youth have experienced less access to healthcare, organized activities including sports, social activities, and their typical learning environments.

The impacts of the pandemic on youth with chronic pain is limited, though adult studies reveal higher rates of pain severity and decreases in psychosocial function.  Pediatric studies have found that rates of anxiety and depression have increased significantly and the need for mental health services has mirrored this trend. Youth are also impacted by effects of the pandemic on their family systems including managing job loss, food, and housing insecurity.

Dr. Zoffness empowered providers to support youth living with chronic pain and their caregivers using three approaches: (1) support caregivers well-being by providing social service, case management, and mental health resources; (2) offer resources to teletherapy; (3) refer patients to mental health providers to increase support.  Recommended resources included mental health providers who offer telehealth and mobile health applications that can be found on her website

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