There’s never a good time for a child to be in the hospital, but parents’ concerns are understandably heightened due to coronavirus. Here are expert answers to common questions parents have about what happens when their child has to be hospitalized during COVID-19.
Is it safe for my child to be in the hospital right now?
“Our hospitals are among the safest places to receive care at this time,” says Laura Swaney, Vice President of Medical City Healthcare Women’s and Children’s Services in North Texas. “While we understand that parents might be apprehensive to bring their child into a hospital to receive care, we are confident in the multitude of processes that we've put into place to ensure safety and security for patients and families, starting at the front door where people are screened before they even enter the hospital.”
“To begin, we ask a series of screening questions. We practice universal masking in public areas within our hospital for everyone, including caregivers and all of our staff. So right from the front door, patients and their visitor are properly screened and masked and then escorted to their room, where they'll be for their length of stay.”
Could my child be in the same unit as a child that has COVID-19?
“No,” says Swaney. “We keep the units separate—patients that are being treated for COVID-19 are in their own special unit. They also have separate care teams. So there wouldn't be intermingling of those two patient populations or staff populations.”
Are parents and other caretakers allowed to stay in the hospital with their child?
“Yes, we absolutely want children to have support while they are hospitalized,” Swaney says.
“And while we recommend that one parent (or other caretaker) stay with the child for the time that they're going to be with us, we completely understand that there are circumstances that may prevent that from happening. When those circumstances arise, we can switch out caretakers while maintaining the one visitor policy.”
Please note: Parents and other caretakers must pass the entrance screening and follow our visitor policy.
Do kids and their caretakers have to wear masks at all times?
“We are practicing universal masking, but patients and those who are there to support them only have to wear a mask in the public places within our hospitals,” says Swaney. “Once they arrive safely to their rooms, they're able to remove their masks.”
Following CDC recommendations, babies and children under 2 years old will not be masked.
Can we bring anything with us to the hospital?
“Yes, we encourage parents to bring some of their child’s toys, books or games so that they can feel like they've got a little bit of home with them while they're receiving care in our hospital,” Swaney says.
Do you have services to help children cope with stress while they’re in the hospital?
“The reality is that a pediatric patient, a child, is not the same as an adult patient,” says Swaney. “And so treating them as such is not really appropriate to do. Pediatric patients are vastly different developmentally, early childhood versus late childhood and their needs.”
“At Medical City Children's Hospital, we have a team of child life specialists who are specialty trained to work with children of all ages. They really get on the appropriate level for the child’s age, they know just how to talk to the child and how to relate to them. They use different modalities, like play therapy, music and art therapy to help the children express what it is they're going through, so that we can address those stressors and make sure that their visit with us is a great one.”
More resources for parents:
- Helping children cope during COVID-19
- Positive parenting tips during COVID-19
- Caring for children during COVID-19
- Talking to children about COVID-19
- Summer safety tips: How to be safe and still have fun during COVID-19