What patients and families need to know
COVID-19 FAQ for Parents of Immunosuppressed Patients
We understand that you may have questions about how coronavirus impacts your child, especially if your child is immunosuppressed due to current treatments.
In addition to the restrictions put in place by the current hospital visitation policy, the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders has put stronger measures in place to protect our immunosuppressed patients (PDF), who may be more susceptible to COVID-19. If we all, including you and your family, adhere to the infection control procedures put in place, the risk to our patient population will be smaller. Thank you for partnering with us to keep our patients safe.
This is not known yet. Children seem to be less affected than older adults but immunocompromised patients are, in general, at higher risk for infections.
Since COVID-19 is transmitted mostly by droplets and contact with contaminated objects, universal precautions apply:
- Wash your and your child’s hands with soap for at least 20 seconds frequently or use hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol, especially before eating, touching your face or after touching shared surfaces such as door knobs.
- Teach your child to avoid touching his/her face as much as possible.
- Avoid large crowds.
- Keep your child from touching frequently-touched surfaces outside your house such as door knobs, hand railings, etc.
- Avoid using public transportation, if possible.
- Ask everyone entering your home to wash their hands and to stay away if they have viral symptoms.
It may be prudent for your child to wear a mask in public. The CDC is currently evaluating the situation and further guidance may come out.
Children’s National Hospital is committed to the safety of all patients and has strict infection control policies in place. We are screening patients and parents/caregivers at all Welcome Desk and check-in locations for the following COVID-19 symptoms: Fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and/or respiratory symptoms.
For outpatient appointments:
- All visitors must sign in at the Welcome Desk, including those with long-term badges.
- All families must identify 1 parent/caregiver to accompany the child to their appointment. A caregiver must be an adult over age 18. Siblings under 18 cannotenter at this time.
- Long-term badges are no longer being issued, and all visitors must stop at the Welcome Desk to check in and be screened.
- Parents/caregivers with symptoms will be given a mask and asked to follow extra precautions for their appointment.
- Visitors will go through a second screening outside the elevator before entering clinic or the inpatient unit.
- Symptomatic patients will be isolated. They will still receive all necessary care and treatment, but will be separated from patients that are not showing symptoms.
- Clinic visits will be spaced out to allow for social distancing. Please come at your assigned time to avoid overcrowding.
- Telehealth visits will be offered whenever possible.
- Playrooms and the Art Room are now closed. Child Life will be available for children with long infusions. They will come to infusion pods directly.
We do not know how long the COVID-19 outbreak will last, and it is important that your child receives his/her treatments. Please talk to your doctor if it is safe to delay therapy. We are committed to providing our patients all necessary treatments. If the outbreak widens, we may delay non-urgent treatments.
We are screening patients and parents/caregivers at all Welcome Desk and check-in locations for the following COVID-19 symptoms: Fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and/or respiratory symptoms.
For inpatient stays:
- All families can identify 2 parents/caregivers for their inpatient visitation list. A caregiver must be an adult over age 18.
- Only 1 of those parents/caregivers can be at the bedside at any given time.
- Siblings under 18 cannot enter at this time.
- Parents/caregivers with symptoms will not be able to enter the inpatient area. If a parent/caregiver develops a fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and/orrespiratory symptoms, he/she has to leave the hospital.
- They will be permitted to return 7 days after the start of symptoms and 3 daysafter the last symptoms OR after a negative COVID-19 test and 24 hours without symptoms.
- Playrooms and the Art Room are now closed. Child Life, Art Therapy and Music Therapy will still offer a variety of services for children.
- Patients can only leave the floor for approved medical procedures. Patients who leave the floor without approval will be put in isolation to protect other patients on the floor.
- If we become aware of a potential COVID-19 case, we will promptly inform any families whose child may have been in contact with the suspected case.
Please follow the fever guidelines and call your assigned team or the physician on-call as outlined in the fever guidelines. Please inform them of your child’s symptoms so we can ensure that your child is isolated if a visit to the hospital is necessary. A primary caregiver without any symptoms must accompany your child.
Children’s National Hospital is committed to the safety of all patients and has strict infection control policies in place. Parents/caregivers with symptoms will not be able to enter the inpatient area. If a parent/caregiver develops a fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and/or respiratory symptoms, he/she has to leave the hospital.They will be permitted to return 7 days after the start of symptoms and 3 days after the last symptoms or after a negative COVID-19 test and 24 hours without symptoms.
Please inform your doctor of your child’s/your exposure prior to arrival. If your child needs to be seen, please send a primary caregiver who has not been exposed with the child. If that is not possible, please let your doctor know.
CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential international travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some health care systems are overwhelmed and there may be limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas. Many countries are implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice. Airlines have cancelled many international flights and in-country travel may be unpredictable. If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be disrupted, and you may have to remain outside the United States for an indefinite length of time. View the CDC’s travel advisories.
Since this is an evolving situation, please refer to the following resources for the most updated information. We will update these recommendations as new information becomes available.