The Evaluation of Health Care Services for Children and Adolescents With Post-COVID-19 Condition: Protocol for a Prospective Longitudinal Study

JMIR Res Protoc. 2023 Apr 11;12:e41010. doi: 10.2196/41010.


Background: Some children and adolescents suffer from late effects of a SARS-CoV-2 infection despite a frequently mild course of the disease. Nevertheless, extensive care for post-COVID-19 condition, also known as post-COVID-19 syndrome, in children and young people is not yet available. A comprehensive care network, Post-COVID Kids Bavaria (PoCo), for children and adolescents with post-COVID-19 condition has been set up as a model project in Bavaria, Germany.

Objective: The aim of this study is to evaluate the health care services provided within this network structure of care for children and adolescents with post-COVID-19 condition in a pre-post study design.

Methods: We have already recruited 117 children and adolescents aged up to 17 years with post-COVID-19 condition who were diagnosed and treated in 16 participating outpatient clinics. Health care use, treatment satisfaction, patient-reported outcomes related to health-related quality of life (the primary endpoint), fatigue, postexertional malaise, and mental health are being assessed at different time points (at baseline and after 4 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months) using routine data, interviews, and self-report questionnaires.

Results: The study recruitment process ran from April 2022 until December 2022. Interim analyses will be carried out. A full analysis of the data will be conducted after follow-up assessment is completed, and the results will be published.

Conclusions: The results will contribute to the evaluation of therapeutic services provided for post-COVID-19 condition in children and adolescents, and avenues for optimizing care may be identified.

International registered report identifier (irrid): DERR1-10.2196/41010.

Keywords: CFS/ME; COVID-19; DSQ-PEM; EQ-5D; PCC; PCS; PROMIS; SDQ; adolescent; care network; child; children and adolescents; health care services; healthcare; healthcare delivery; healthcare service; healthcare utilization; long COVID; patient reported outcome; pediatrics; post-COVID; post–COVID-19 condition; post–COVID-19 syndrome; service delivery; therapeutic service.