Concerns over teens' well-being as Covid brought regular checkups to a halt
Pediatricians are concerned about the wellbeing of teenagers. Due to the coronavirus crisis, the regular checkups for 14- to 16-year-olds in consultation centers came to a complete halt in most locations. Which means that these kids' doctors don't know how they are handling this crisis, AD reports.
During the crisis, checkups for school children and interim appointments, for example for assessing a child's physical development or eye tests for toddlers, were canceled in various regions. In most cases, babies and toddlers were given priority. Resulting in the regular checkups for 14- to 16-year-olds coming to a complete standstill in most locations - something the Netherlands' center for youth healthcare NCJ called "risky", according to the newspaper.
"You are not sure if you miss things. Although consultation agencies strive for accessibility, you don't know whether everyone will sound the alarm themselves," NCJ consultant Elle Struijf said to AD.
Youth doctors are also concerned "I am especially concerned about what we miss with the teenagers. We don't see now whether they are depressed, uncomfortable in their own skin. While this entire corona time has an impact on this group," said Astrid Nielen, chairman of AJN Jeugdartsen Nederland.
"We try to continue as much as possible, but it is just not always possible," Nielen said. With health service GGD focused on coronavirus testing and source and contact tracing, the consultation agencies have had to pick up the slack elsewhere. "And then we look at children who are most at risk. We know our families, so we do invite them. We hope that other parents, who we think are doing well, will sound the alarm when problems arise."
Children's Ombudsman Margrite Kalverboer told AD that she understands the GGDs are under pressure, but she is concerned by the fact that not all children are being seen by their pediatricians. "There are not many checks on children at this time, because they are at home more. Then a check at the consultation center is important. They can spot signals about the safety of children," Kalverboer said. "We know very little about the effect of corona on the children. Teenagers were at schools very little. What does that do to their emotional well-being? I find it difficult that pediatricians now have to make a choice in who they see."