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Coronavirus Update: What patients and families need to know

Preparing for Your Visit

Last Updated: May 27, 2020

COVID-19 Family and Caregiver Visitation Policy

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Children’s National is taking extra steps to protect our patients, families and staff, including updating our visitation policy. We are screening patients and parents/caregivers for the following COVID-19 symptoms at our Welcome Desks and check-in areas at all locations: fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and/or respiratory symptoms.

In addition, all staff, families/caregivers and visitors must wear a mask at all times while in any Children’s National facility to prevent the spread of COVID-19. View our mask disclaimer.

Parents/caregivers who are sick with COVID-19 or live with someone who is sick with COVID-19 should follow the CDC’s recommendation and stay home for 14 days from their last exposure. These parents/caregivers may not visit the hospital at this time. As a parent/caregiver, if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, contact your health care provider immediately.

Ill parents/caregivers or those with COVID-19 testing pending cannot be in the hospital or any other Children’s National location. If both parents/caregivers are not healthy, please notify your child’s care team immediately.

We understand that this is a difficult time. View this video message from the Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC).

Outpatient Appointments

  • All families must identify one parent/caregiver to accompany the child for their appointment. A caregiver must be an adult over the age of 18.
  • Siblings under 18 cannot enter at this time.

Inpatient Stays

  • All families can identify two parents/caregivers for their child’s inpatient visitation list. A caregiver must be an adult over the age of 18.
  • Only one of those caregivers can be at the bedside at a time.
  • Siblings under 18 cannot enter at this time.
  • Parents/caregivers with symptoms will not be able to enter the inpatient area.

Please note, the visitor policy may be adjusted to ensure the safety of patients, families and visitors. While the decision to restrict our visitation policy was difficult, we thank you for helping us keep our community safe.

Visitor Screening Process

  • When arriving at Children’s National for your visit, please follow signs for Visitor Parking, and use the P1 Main Elevators to enter the hospital.
  • Parents, caregivers and visitors must proceed to Visitor Screening before checking in at the Welcome Desk.
  • At screening, we will check your temperature and ask a few questions regarding your health. Based on the results of the screening process, you will be able to continue to the Welcome Desk to check in.
  • Everyone must go through screening and check in, even if they have long-term visitor badges.

Mask Policy for Visitors

The health and safety of you, our staff and patients is important. Therefore, all staff, families/caregivers and visitors must wear a mask at all times while in any Children’s National facility to prevent the spread of COVID-19. View our mask disclaimer.

Please help us keep everyone safe by:

  • Wearing a mask when entering any Children’s National building, as mandated by area officials. This includes all public places, such as the hallway and cafeteria.
  • Wearing a mask at all times when you are around other individuals, including your child’s care provider. Our staff may ask you to put on a mask when you are around others without one.

Please wear a mask at the following locations:

  • Outpatient visitors: Waiting areas, physician offices, exam rooms, diagnostic testing service areas, etc.
  • Inpatient and bedside visitors: As soon as one or more staff enter a patient’s room.

Upon arrival, please visit our Welcome Desk to get a mask if you do not already have one.

Visit for the most up-to-date information.

Pre-procedural Testing

Pre-procedural coronavirus testing will be arranged by appointment only. If your child is scheduled to have a procedure at any Children’s National location, you will be contacted by surgical schedulers to arrange the testing. Directions to testing sites and other information will be provided.

Guidance for Visiting the Emergency Department Regarding Coronavirus

Children’s National Hospital has implemented strategies to limit the spread of coronavirus in our community. As a precaution to protect our patients, families and staff, we are following the recommendations from the CDC.

If your child has developed a fever, cough or flu-like symptoms, or has been within 6 feet of someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, you should contact your child’s primary care provider. If you feel that your child is having a medical emergency, please come to the Emergency Department. They will then work with your local or state health departments to determine the appropriate next steps for your child’s care.

Please only visit the Emergency Department if you are experiencing a major or life-threatening issue. This will help limit the potential spread of the virus in our community, and will help ensure that our Emergency Department is able to care for patients with the most critical needs first.

Based on recommendations from public health authorities, we are not providing testing based solely on the request of a child’s primary caregiver. We will work closely with the Department of Health to determine if testing is required based on a patient’s symptoms and risk of exposure.

Useful Information to Prepare for Your Visit

At Children’s National Hospital, we strive to make your family’s visit or extended stay both safe and comfortable. Whether you’re visiting our main hospital in Washington, D.C., or one of our specialty care locations throughout the region, you may have questions before, during or after your child’s visit. 

We’re here to answer your questions and provide you with useful information about getting here, what you need to bring and what you should know about our facilities. 

The health and safety of our employees and patients is important. Therefore, all staff, families and visitors must wear a mask at all times while in any Children’s National facility to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
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