Published: 25th June 2020
Children with COVID-19 experience anxiety, loneliness, difficult to treat: Doctors, health workers
Children cannot understand the need for isolation and hence, become irritable and do not cooperate with health workers
Children who got infected with the Coronavirus and have been admitted to COVID hospitals, are posing a 'clinical challenge' to doctors and other health workers. Most of them complain of anxiety, distress, and fear. Petrified by the PPE suits. of health workers, they scream "bhoot". Children cannot understand the need for isolation and hence, become irritable and do not cooperate with health workers.
"In many cases now, we are allowing one parent to remain with the child if the latter creates problems. The parent is required to adhere to all safety protocols including wearing PPE kits. However, some children get scared seeing us move around in PPE kits," said a senior doctor at the KGMU. According to a doctor in Prayagraj, most children admitted in COVID hospitals experience anxiety, loneliness, distress, and fear. Many of them get petrified seen people move around in PPE suits.
"They scream thinking that we are all 'bhoot'. They also cannot understand why they cannot be with their family. The atmosphere in the isolation ward creates fear and loneliness. The absence of parents and siblings adds to the distress factor," he said. Citing the example of a four-year-boy who was admitted after testing Corona positive, the doctor said that the child developed fever within hours of being admitted to the hospital.
"We realized that he was deeply distressed in the atmosphere where everyone was moving around in PPE suits. We asked the nurse attending to him to get him to make video calls to his parents and siblings as many times as he wanted. A day later, his fever came down and the child seemed more comfortable. We explained to him the need for remaining isolated due to the virus and he gradually accepted the situation," the doctor said.
In another case -- that of a three-year-old -- the doctors had to allow the patient's mother to remain with him because the child was inconsolable. "The mother of the child was also a doctor and she understood the protocols," the doctor said. In at least two cases in Lucknow where the "little human" suffered trauma after being admitted, the doctors had to provide them professional counselling. Child counsellors were called in and they interacted with the children for hours, trying to convince them about the need for isolation. It took almost two to three days to help the kids get rid of the distress factor.
Some hospitals in the state are now providing juvenile patients with toys, games and even colouring books to keep them entertained. Some NGOs have sent toys and hospital authorities are also requesting others to provide some games for children admitted in wards.