Children

Painful Questions: What Happens When Doctors Uncover Adverse Childhood Experiences?

As California launches widespread screening for adverse childhood experiences, critics question the science, and the consequences.

While few doubt that severe stress in childhood can lead to ailments later in life, tools used during doctors’ appointments are described in prominent scientific journals as inappropriate and unethical, oversimplifying human experience and straining doctor-patient trust.

Pandemic Pushes Parents Of Kids With Special Needs To Breaking Point

Thousands of parents across California are caring for children with physical, behavioral and developmental conditions. They typically rely on a small army of teachers, therapists, nurses and other caregivers to get through the week. But that has been stripped away due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parents are feeling isolated, stressed and overwhelmed at a time when families need more support than ever to deal with a loss of routine, heightened anxiety and other challenges.

Amid Pandemic, Young Kids With Special Needs Missing Out On Services

As COVID-19 disrupts the transition from early intervention to school, children are going without occupational, physical and speech therapies and other services they’re entitled to.

The danger, advocates for children with special needs said, is that these kids are missing out on interventions at a critical moment in their lives. Since mid-March, California’s complex special needs care system has struggled to move children from one program to another, parents and advocates said.

Kids Who Rely On Ventilators Can’t Get Enough Supplies, Putting Their Lives At Risk

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for ventilators and accessories has soared. As a result, families caring for medically fragile kids are being forced to ration and even reuse parts.

At least 3,000 children in California rely on ventilators, according to the California Association of Medical Product Suppliers, and many of them are facing a shortage of the supplies that help keep them alive.

Children Who Need Wheelchairs and Other Medical Equipment Often Wait Months or Years Because of Byzantine State System

The complicated system creates a disparity where children from families without the means to pay for medical equipment out of pocket often must go without it for months or years, limiting their interactions with their community or setting them up for poorer health outcomes compared to their wealthier peers.

The equipment families seek includes lifts, wheelchairs, walkers, ventilators and hospital beds.

New Screenings for Childhood Trauma Raise Hopes, Questions

California health officials are gearing up for the launch of a statewide screening effort that aims to help doctors measure children’s exposure to trauma and their risk of related health problems.

Starting Jan. 1, California will become the first state in the nation to reimburse health care providers who screen patients enrolled in the Medi-Cal program for “adverse childhood experiences” or ACEs.

Few Home Nurses Available to Care for Children With Complex Medical Needs

Across California and the country, families with children with complex medical needs struggle to find qualified nurses to care for them. Historically low pay rates for home health nurses, a lack of pediatric training for in-home situations, and a disjointed system for finding caregivers has left many families without the nursing care their children desperately need and are entitled to, experts said.

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