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Understanding the Impact of COVID-19 on Parents Caring for Children and Youth with Medical Complexity

COVID-19 Research Area(s): Healthcare Delivery & Policy, Social Impacts

For the first time in living memory, there is a global pandemic — COVID-19 — that affects the entire population. Within this context, the vulnerability of certain groups is amplified, including children and youth with medical complexity. The health, education, and social lives of these children and youth, and by extension their families, are shaped by a complex system of federal, provincial and local policies. In a rapidly evolving pandemic situation, the needs of this population are at risk of being ignored, or worse, their rights being eroded. In this study, we will conduct an interpretive policy analysis examining parents’ experiencing of caring for a child with medical complexity at this time. Findings from this study will generate a contextualized account of families’ experiences, which can help inform policies and related supports.

This study employs interpretive policy analysis, an approach that examines the impact of policies on the everyday lives of people, in this case, families that include a child or youth with medical complexity. The setting for the research is British Columbia. Parents/guardians of medically complex child and youth are invited to complete a 30-minute online survey. A subset of these participants will take part in semi-structured interviews to gain greater insight into their experiences.