Coronavirus Update: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.
Take a look at important information about COVID-19 testing for our immunosuppressed patients (PDF). 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:
- Stay home if possible.
- Keep 6 feet distance from other people when in public.
- 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, and after being outside the house.
- Teach your child to avoid touching his/her face as much as possible.
- Avoid large crowds.
- Avoid using public transportation, if possible.
- Ask everyone entering your home to wash their hands, and ask those with viral symptoms to avoid visiting.
Masks prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. When being outside the home in public and within 6 feet of other people, everybody should wear a mask. Please wear a mask when entering the hospital.
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 Desks and check-in locations for the following COVID-19 symptoms: Fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat 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 cannot enter 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 should not accompany the patient.
- Visitors will go through a second screening outside the elevator before entering the clinic or 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.
- We are offering telehealth visits for patients who do not require an inpatient visit to decrease patient crowding in clinics. Please ask your doctor whether that is an option for your appointment.
If you have safety concerns, you can discuss the possibility of delaying treatment with your care team. However, we do not know how long the COVID-19 pandemic will last, and it is important that your child receives timely treatments. See how Children’s National is protecting patients, families and staff and what to expect when you come to one of our facilities for care.
Please refer to the Children’s National Hospital website for the most updated visitation policy. Right now, only 2 primary caregivers may visit. Everyone else, including siblings, may not visit. All visitors are screened upon entry to the building. Limiting visitors may help keep your child safe.
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 or respiratory symptoms, he/she has to leave the hospital.
- They will be permitted to return 10 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.
- 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 oncologist 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, shortness of breath, sore throat or respiratory symptoms, they have to leave the hospital. They will be permitted to return 10 days after the start of symptoms and 3 days after the last symptoms or a negative COVID-19 test and 24 hours without symptoms.
Please inform your doctor of the 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 inform your care team. The hospital has policies in place to keep all of our patients safe while providing treatment. If treatment cannot be delayed, you and your child will remain isolated throughout your visit at the hospital.
As a precaution to protect our patients, families and staff, all patients scheduled for anesthesia will be tested for COVID-19 prior to their scheduled procedures. We are also testing patients prior to admission. This requires an additional visit to the hospital 1-2 days prior to the admission or procedure. Our schedulers will arrange your child’s COVID-19 testing appointment. It is important to inform your doctor of any new symptoms your child or any household member develops, even if the test comes back negative, so your doctor can decide whether your child needs repeat testing or testing for other common viral diseases.
We do not know yet what the status of the pandemic in our area will be in the fall and what the decisions of local school districts will be. We will need to consider your child’s treatments, your child’s immune status, number of COVID-19 cases in your area and status of your school district before making recommendations to return to school. Children’s National Hospital is monitoring the situation but it is likely that there will not be a universal recommendation. Please discuss your child’s individual educational needs with your doctor and social worker.
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.