MONDAY, March 28, 2022 (HealthDay News) — An increase in intimate partner violence (IPV) referrals was seen after the emergence of COVID-19, particularly for emotional abuse, according to a study published online March 22 in Pediatrics.

Rehana Rahman, M.S.W., from Boston Children’s Hospital, and colleagues describe the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on consultation and referral patterns of an IPV program at a large, urban children’s hospital. Variations in patterns of consultations and referrals were examined in the 11 months prior to the COVID-19 pandemic (April 1, 2019, to Feb. 29, 2020) and following its emergence (April 1, 2020, to Feb. 28, 2021).

The researchers found that during the period following COVID-19 emergence, there was a significant decrease in the proportion of face-to-face consults (28 to 2 percent) alongside a significant increase in the total number of consults (240 to 295), mainly for emotional abuse (195 to 264). There was also a significant increase observed in psychoeducation referrals (199 to 273), while a significant decrease was seen in referrals to community resources (111 to 95). The only practice setting to demonstrate significant differences in the overall number of and specific reasons for consultation, as well as associated referral types before and after COVID-19 emergence, was the primary care setting.

“The fact that providers were able to identify and connect these patients/families even in the setting of a move to remote care should encourage clinicians that it is possible to provide these services across a range of settings and with a variety of resources,” the authors write.

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