Telehealth implementation and characterization of patients seen by a pediatric psychiatry consultation-liaison service during the COVID-19 pandemic: Patients presenting with eating disorders

Chelsea Tobin, PhD, MSW

Boston Children’s Hospital
Telehealth implementation and characterization of patients seen by a pediatric psychiatry consultation-liaison service during the COVID-19 pandemic: Patients presenting with eating disorders

Scientific Abstract

 

Background: The COVID‐19 pandemic and resulting public restrictions pose a psychological burden and may be particularly detrimental for individuals with mental health disorders. Despite a decrease in in-person services, mental health needs remained prevalent during the onset of global pandemic precautions, necessitating rapid change in care-provision strategies. The primary aim of this study is to characterize patients presenting with restrictive eating disorders in a pediatric hospital setting during the COVID-19 pandemic “stay at home” period and assess feasibility of telehealth consultation visits within this patient population.

Methods: This is an exploratory, pilot study conducted via provider surveys and retrospective chart review. Participants include patients seen by a psychiatry consultation service (PCS) for evaluation and management of eating disorders in the 4-week period after pandemic response guidelines were introduced, necessitating virtual visits (April 6 – May 4, 2020). Patients with similar diagnoses seen in the same timeframe in 2019 were used as comparison.

Results: Despite a 17% decrease in patients seen by PCS during this period compared to 2019, there was a 13% increase in patients presenting with restrictive eating disorders. Descriptive statistics, including frequencies, will be utilized to characterize these patients presenting in 2020 and differences with the 2019 cohort. Provider confidence in efficacy of clinical care via telemedicine, ease of developing rapport and therapeutic alliance, and ease of arranging telemedicine Zoom visits will also be described.

Conclusion: Results will provide preliminary data to better characterize patients who presented to an inpatient pediatric hospital requiring psychiatric management during a global pandemic compared to those seen during the same timeframe in the previous year. Providers experience of telemedicine use with patients with restrictive eating disorders will inform future practice in providing care and effective services.

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research Areas

Authors

Chelsea Tobin, PhD, Kevin K. Tsang, PsyD, Ryan D. Davidson, PhD, Kenneth Scheer, MBA, Patricia Ibeziako, MD