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Impacts of health care service changes implemented due to COVID-19 on children and young people with long-term disability: A mapping review

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Hannah MerrickORCiD, Dr Helen Driver, Dr Ryan KennyORCiD, Catherine Richmond, Kulwinder Bola, Professor Jeremy Parr, Dr Fiona Pearson, Professor Lindsay Pennington



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Aim: To identify the research on childhood disability service adaptations and their impact on children and young people with long-term disability during the COVID-19 pandemic. Method: A mapping review was undertaken. We searched the World Health Organization Global COVID-19 database using the search terms ‘children’, ‘chronic/disabling conditions’, and ‘services/therapies’. Eligible papers reported service changes for children (0–19 years) with long-term disability in any geographical or clinical setting between 1st January 2020 and 26th January 2022. Papers were charted across the effective practice and organization of care taxonomy of health system interventions and were narratively synthesized; an interactive map was produced. Results: Reduction of face-to-face care and usual provision had a huge impact on children and families. Adoption of telehealth provided continuity for the care and management of some conditions. There was limited evidence of changes to mental health services, transitions of care, social care, or child-reported satisfaction or acceptability of service changes. Interpretation: The long-term impacts of service change during the pandemic need full evaluation. However, widespread disruption seems to have had a profound impact on child and carer health and well-being. Service recovery needs to be specific to the individual needs of children with a disability and their families. This should be done through coproduction to ensure that service changes meet needs and are accessible and equitable.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Merrick H, Driver H, Main C, Kenny RPW, Richmond C, Allard A, Bola K, Morris C, Parr JR, Pearson F, Pennington L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology

Year: 2023

Volume: 65

Issue: 7

Pages: 885-899

Print publication date: 01/07/2023

Online publication date: 17/01/2023

Acceptance date: 29/11/2022

Date deposited: 23/01/2023

ISSN (print): 0012-1622

ISSN (electronic): 1469-8749

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd


DOI: 10.1111/dmcn.15503


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Funder referenceFunder name
National Institute for Health and Care Research
Northumbria University