CUPID Covid-19: paediatric emergency department attendance during COVID-19


Funded By: Health Research Board (HRB) (Funding Agency Ref No: COV19-2020-076)  I  Programme: COVID-19 Rapid Response

Duration of Project: 11-May-20 to 10-May-21

This project aims to ensure children continue to receive timely access to emergency healthcare throughout the duration of COVID-19. The repurposing of health system resources to tackle the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, together with an apparent reluctance by some parents to access healthcare for their children at this time, may lead to a dramatic decrease in ED attendance by paediatric patients. A delay in seeking healthcare, particularly for children with chronic complex conditions [8], may result in further deterioration in an illness and ultimately lead to hospital admissions which could be avoided with timely access to healthcare. Avoiding unnecessary admissions to hospital is critical at a time when resources in the health system are severely limited. As the pandemic unfolds, assessment of changes in ED attendance and capturing the experience of parents will provide pertinent information to help identify unmet need and to identify those at risk. This study also includes data gathering from ED clinical staff to inform the interpretation of findings

Dr. Nicholson discusses the aim of this project: view this short video

Research project's Co-investigators:

  • Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin – Dr Michael Barrett
  • Children’s Health Ireland at Temple Street– Dr Conor Hensey
  • University Hospital Limerick – Prof Fergal Cummins

Research project's collaborators:


McDonnell T, McAuliffe E, Barrett M, Conlon C, Cummins F, Deasy C, Hensey C, Martin C, Nicholson E. CUPID COVID-19: emergency department attendance by paediatric patients during COVID-19 - project protocol [version 2; peer review: 2 approved]. HRB Open Res 2020, 3:37 (

McDonnell T, Nicholson E, Conlon C, Barrett M, Cummins F, Hensey C, McAuliffe E. Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 Public Health Stages on Paediatric Emergency Attendance. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(18):6719.

Nicholson E, McDonnell T, Conlon C, Barrett M, Cummins F, Hensey C, McAuliffe E. Parental Hesitancy and Concerns around Accessing Paediatric Unscheduled Healthcare during COVID-19: A Cross-Sectional Survey. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(24):9264.

Conlon C, McDonnell T, Barrett M, Cummins F, Deasy C, Hensey C, McAuliffe E, Nicholson E. The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Child Health and Well-Being: Are Children “Slipping through the Net”? A Qualitative Study of Frontline Emergency Care Staff, 29 January 2021, PREPRINT (Version 1) available at Research Square []


  • UCD COVID-19 Research Seminar Series: Researchers Tackling the Crisis

Paediatric Emergency Department attendance during COVID_19 with Dr. Emma Nicholson and Dr. Thérèse McDonnell

  • UCD CHILD conference - ''The Impact of Covid-19 on Children's Health and Development".

Understanding Paediatric Emergency Department Trends During COVID-19: A Qualitative Study. Ms Ciara Conlon.