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J Clin Psychiatry ; 82(3)2021 04 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2066783


OBJECTIVE: By forcing closure of schools, curtailing outpatient services, and imposing strict social distancing, the COVID-19 pandemic has abruptly affected the daily life of millions worldwide, with still unclear consequences for mental health. This study aimed to evaluate if and how child and adolescent psychiatric visits to hospital emergency departments (EDs) changed during the pandemic lockdown, which started in Italy on February 24, 2020. METHODS: We examined all ED visits by patients under 18 years of age in the 7 weeks prior to February 24, 2020, and in the subsequent 8 weeks of COVID-19 lockdown at two urban university hospitals, in Turin and Rome, Italy. ED visits during the corresponding periods of 2019 served as a comparison using Poisson regression modeling. The clinician's decision to hospitalize or discharge home the patient after the ED visit was examined as an index of clinical severity. RESULTS: During the COVID-19 lockdown, there was a 72.0% decrease in the number of all pediatric ED visits (3,395) compared with the corresponding period in 2019 (12,128), with a 46.2% decrease in psychiatric visits (50 vs 93). The mean age of psychiatric patients was higher in the COVID-19 period (15.7 vs 14.1 years). No significant changes were found in hospitalization rate or in the prevalence distribution of the primary reason for the psychiatric ED visit (suicidality, anxiety/mood disorders, agitation). CONCLUSIONS: In the first 8 weeks of the COVID-19-induced social lockdown, the number of child and adolescent psychiatric ED visits significantly decreased, with an increase in patient age. This decrease does not appear to be explained by severity-driven self-selection and might be due to a reduction in psychiatric emergencies or to the implementation of alternative ways of managing acute psychopathology.

Ambulatory Care/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19 , Emergencies/epidemiology , Emergency Services, Psychiatric , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Mental Disorders , Physical Distancing , Adolescent , Age Factors , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/psychology , Child , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Education, Distance , Emergency Services, Psychiatric/organization & administration , Emergency Services, Psychiatric/statistics & numerical data , Female , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Mental Disorders/epidemiology , Mental Disorders/psychology , Mental Disorders/therapy , Mental Health/statistics & numerical data , Organizational Innovation , SARS-CoV-2
Seizure ; 83: 38-40, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1023744


PURPOSE: The COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdown measures drastically changed health care and emergency services utilization. This study evaluated trends in emergency department (ED) access for seizure-related reasons in the first 8 weeks of lockdown in Italy. METHODS: All ED accesses of children (<14 years of age) at two university hospitals, in Turin and Rome, Italy, between January 6, 2020 and April 21, 2020, were examined and compared with the corresponding periods of 2019. RESULTS: During the COVID-19 lockdown period (February 23-April 21, 2020), there was a 72 % decrease in all pediatric ED accesses over the corresponding 2019 period (n = 3,395 vs n = 12,128), with a 38 % decrease in seizure-related accesses (n = 41 vs n = 66). The observed decrease of seizure-related ED accesses was not accompanied by significant changes in age, sex, type of seizure, or hospitalization rate after the ED visit. CONCLUSION: The COVID-19 lockdown was accompanied by a sudden decrease in seizure-related hospital emergency visits. School closure, social distancing, reduced risk of infection, and increased parental supervision are some of the factors that might have contributed to the finding.

COVID-19/complications , Emergency Service, Hospital/statistics & numerical data , Epilepsy/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Seizures/physiopathology , Adolescent , Child , Emergency Medical Services/statistics & numerical data , Epilepsy/epidemiology , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Italy , Seizures/virology