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Comment & Response
August 24, 2020

Potentials of Telerehabilitation for Families of Children With Special Health Care Needs During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Emergency—Reply

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville
  • 2Department of Health Outcomes and Biomedical Informatics, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville
  • 3Department of Epidemiology, University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions and College of Medicine, Gainesville
JAMA Pediatr. 2021;175(1):105-106. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.2357

In Reply We appreciate the comments from Provenzi and Borgatti, who offer perspectives on telerehabilitation solutions during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in response to our article.1 As our article noted that children with special health care needs might be more likely to have COVID-19–related complications, these pediatric neurologists who learned early from Italy’s difficult COVID-19 experience note how families of children who use specialized rehabilitation centers benefitted from telerehabilitation services to mitigate the “hopelessness” resulting from the necessary COVID-19 social isolation. As this pandemic unfolds, we agree that a specialized approach to tailor the delivery of pediatric care is needed. We encourage this kind of innovation for pediatric care because children and their families will require novel approaches to medical management and engagement.

Looking forward, we must be mindful of the unintended consequences of this pandemic, including delayed care, worsening care for those with medical needs, and widespread mental and economic harms. For children, the diversion of resources and distraction away from non–COVID-19 illness may have severe consequences. The American Academy of Pediatrics specifically emphasizes the need for continued well care, including children with special health care needs, even while encouraging telemedicine.2 As pediatricians, we must work to mitigate these unintended consequences to best promote the health and well-being of children and their families.

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Lindsay A. Thompson, MD, MS, Department of General Pediatrics, University of Florida, 1699 SW 16th Ave, Gainesville, FL 32608 (lathom@ufl.edu).

Published Online: August 24, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.2357

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

Thompson  LA, Rasmussen  SA.  What does the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) mean for families?   JAMA Pediatr. 2020. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.0828PubMedGoogle Scholar
American Academy of Pediatrics. Guidance on Providing Pediatric Ambulatory Services via Telehealth During COVID-19. Critical Updates on CoVID-19. Accessed July 22, 2020. https://services.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections2/guidance-on-providing-pediatric-ambulatory-services-via-telehealth-during-covid-19/