Well-child visits are still happening during COVID. What can you expect during your child's visit?
When COVID first hit hard, the American Academy of Pediatrics had a big concern that came true for a lot of pediatric providers -- well-child visits would come to a screeching halt. We also became concerned that there would be outbreaks of diseases again due to kids, especially babies, not coming into the office to get their vaccines.
Well, the good news is, in most cases, your doctor's office is probably one of the safest places to be outside of your house. Every office is different, but most of us are trying to divide the waiting room into sick and healthy sides. At check-in, every person is asked screening questions to see what area they need to wait in and also to make sure if someone is sick, that our staff takes appropriate precautions.
Only one parent is allowed in a visit per child. Parents are informed of this when they schedule the appointments, and I know we welcome the parent who couldn't be in the clinic to be involved in the visits through FaceTime. I've actually done two visits today where the parent who couldn't be in the visit was involved via FaceTime, and we were able to have a great conversation. Everyone is wearing eye protection and surgical masks also, and if there are concerns about COVID, we have complete PPE gowns and respirators that we wear.
We disinfect chairs, table, and toys in between each patient, and I have several rooms, so we are able to let the room sit for about 15 minutes to let the disinfectant dry by rotating which rooms we have patients in. We have separate exits for the patients who do not need to go back to the front of the clinic, and there is abundant hand sanitizer. We also have strict precautions for when we think somebody has COVID in terms of letting the room settle with the droplets, cleaning everything including the floors, and using special filters to cycle the air through.
What about virtual well-child visits? Some providers are doing them that way if there are no vaccinations needed. Others are doing only in-person. It's best to check with your pediatrician's office to see what they're doing.
So the next question is, how do you know if your child is due for a well-visit? Well, at our office, we do what is called outreach, meaning that our computer people can generate a list of all the kids that are coming due for well-visits or shots. We call and send letters reaching out to those families to have them schedule appointments. Not all offices have this ability though. If you're not sure if your child is due, please call your pediatrician's office, and they can let you know if an appointment is due and help you schedule at the same time. Your child's health is very important to your pediatrician. Please be sure to keep up with all of their necessary visits during this crazy time.
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