Safety First: How We're Caring for Our Patients and Visitors During COVID-19
May 19, 2020
Health and safety of patients, families and staff have always been our top priorities and this hasn’t changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. While we paused some of our elective services and clinics as we learned more about COVID-19, we have remained committed to providing essential care. During this time, we introduced and expanded telehealth services, helping our patients through more than 50,000 visits.
Now, slowly and carefully, we are beginning to open our services more broadly again, with guidance from public health officials and our own medical experts. Every action we are taking focuses on the health and safety of you, your children and our staff who provide care.
We’ve implemented changes to protect our patients, families and staff. We recognize that we are all partners in helping to keep everyone safe, as we work together across four main safety efforts:
When entering any of our locations, everyone older than 2 years of age will be provided with a hospital-grade mask. You will see all of our staff wearing masks as well. Your mask must be worn throughout your visit, to protect both yourself and everyone else at the location. Some families feel comfortable in homemade masks, but to ensure a consistent level of protection in our health care settings, hospital-grade masks are required. We will provide you with a new mask each time you visit. Children under 2 should never be masked - learn more about that here.
Visitor guidelines remain in place to protect everyone’s health and safety. You will notice that we have redesigned walking paths so you can get to and from your appointment in the most direct way possible. You will also see signage limiting the number of people in elevators and we’ve added plexiglass dividers at all registration locations.
Waiting rooms have been rearranged so you and your child can remain six feet from others. Additionally, to cut down on the amount of time you spend in our facility, we may ask that you wait in your car until we are ready for you. Your care team will share more specific details with you before your appointment.
Continual Cleaning and Sanitizing
We have increased the number of times our facilities are being cleaned throughout the day. High-touch areas like door handles, elevator buttons and telephones are being given especially frequent attention. Additionally, appointments are being spaced to allow additional deep cleaning of exam rooms and clinical spaces between patients.
We are carefully scheduling appointments so that the smallest possible number of patients and visitors are on-site at any given time. We are continuing to use telehealth visits in many cases. If your child is being scheduled for an in-person appointment, we have determined that being present in one of our facilities is important for your child’s health.
We’re here to help! We take seriously the trust you place in us. Our dedication to your family’s well-being doesn’t end when you leave our physical location. We welcome any questions you have and are providing a variety of resources that we hope are helpful to you and your family during these challenging times. Click here for resources. We will continue to update you on our added safety measures as we navigate the pandemic.
Thank you for your kindness, your patience and being our most important partners in your child’s care. We’re in this together.
Matthew C. Washam, MD, MPH, is an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine and member of the Section of Infectious Diseases at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Dr. Washam’s research interests include understanding the risk factors for transmission of multidrug-resistant bacteria in children within the hospital environment.
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