Alexandra Clark, MD, division chief of pediatrics, and Courtney Martin, DO, medical director of maternity services at Children’s Hospital, want to remind parents that amid all other uncertainties, their child’s health is still the hospital’s top priority.
How is Children’s Health providing care to patients amidst all the health precautions?
There are a lot of unknowns in the community right now, but we don’t want people to be afraid to access their healthcare. We are currently offering video visits via MyChart in both our general pediatrics and pediatric specialty areas — this includes sick visits and well-checks. However, we want people to recognize that their child may have a medical need that is in no way connected to a COVID-19 illness but still needs to access in-person care, and we haven’t stopped providing that.
What are the benefits of video visits?
Video visits provide a secure, convenient way to have a regular appointment with your physician without needing to physically travel to the clinic. These video visits are allowing families who can access a phone, computer or tablet a way to connect with their physician and their healthcare team from the comfort of their home. No matter where your child sees us for care, we can continue to provide that virtually.
How is Children’s Hospital helping parents if they are worried about immediate health issues happening with their kids?
We have same-day access for sick visits via video at our pediatric care centers until 7:30 p.m. Please, call in, set up that video appointment with us so that we can debrief any issues. We can then visually see your child, give you feedback and hear from you what’s going on. We don’t think any parental concern is too small.
What are the steps the hospital is taking to keep patients safe?
Only essential staff are working at the facility. We have put in place visitor restrictions to limit the number of people going in and out of the hospital, lowering the chances of virus transmission. Both patients and caregivers are screened daily for symptoms and are required to wear masks. We’ve fully stocked our hospital and clinics with personal protective equipment, so you can be assured that providers and staff are following national guidelines to protect you when you visit in-person.
Keeping COVID-19 in mind, should expecting moms still deliver their babies at hospitals?
In reality, nothing has changed about the lack of safety of delivering a baby at home. If you’re an individual who has never planned to have an at-home birth or you don’t have a low-risk pregnancy, your risks of serious complications while at home are much higher than your risks of contracting COVID-19 while at the hospital. At Children’s Hospital, we keep our COVID-19 patients and the staff that cares for them completely separate from others to avoid virus transmission. We understand expecting moms are making tremendous sacrifices. But we are doing everything we can to provide comfort and peace for moms while still keeping them and their babies safe.
How can families continue to live productive lives amidst COVID-19?
At Children’s Health, we are committed to the care of your whole child. We encourage you to set a schedule for your child during the week as if they were going to school. Provide planned recesses for your child to allow for sunshine and fresh air. Get creative with taking on hobbies with your children — teaching them to cook, involving them in spring cleaning, etc. Take this time to reconnect as a family. Additionally, if you or your child is feeling sad or unsure how to process emotions related to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic or loss of time with friends and school, our Behavioral Health team offers video visit counseling sessions.