The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has broad implications for children and families. Particular attention has been paid to delays in accessing timely pediatric care leading to unintended morbidity. In this study, we aim to describe the broader spectrum of unintended negative consequences for pediatric patients and families due to recent health care and societal changes.


All full-time doctors, dentists, and nurse practitioners working at a tertiary care children’s hospital in Canada were surveyed every 2 weeks throughout the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic to identify clinical cases in which they perceived a negative outcome associated with hospital or societal changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Analysis followed a qualitative case series methodology using a narrative synthesis approach to determine similarities and associated themes.


One hundred and forty-one clinicians, representing 26 hospital divisions, reported 57 unique cases in the first 6 weeks of the study. Thematic analysis of the first 50 reported cases was used to identify 6 primary themes focusing on health care quality domains as described by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient, and equitable care).


In this preliminary case analysis, we describe the broad social and clinical impact of COVID-19 on hospitalized pediatric patients and their families. These themes highlight the unintended consequence on families, siblings, disease diagnosis, and hospital-based care provision. Recognition and understanding of the broad implications of the COVID-19 pandemic are necessary as we strive to deliver safe, high-quality, family-centered pediatric care in this new era.

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