Safe and Sound Nothing is more important than your child’s health. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve worked around the clock to maintain a safe environment for our patients, families and team members. As we welcome your child back for appointments, procedures and surgeries, you can count on us to keep them safe and sound every step of the way. Things will look and feel different, but every decision is driven and backed by clinical expertise. Here’s how we’re keeping kids safe and sound. Safety FAQs Throughout the coronavirus outbreak, our experts have worked closely with other national and global leaders to assess new information and respond with rigorous safety measures. What has Connecticut Children’s been doing to keep its facilities safe from COVID-19? When the crisis began, we immediately postponed non-urgent procedures and rescheduled many in-person appointments to Video Visits. We put visitor restrictions in place and canceled outside vendors, stopping all but essential contact from the community. We put a thorough screening process in place for visitors and team members – which we will continue – including questions about potential COVID-19 symptoms or exposure, temperature checks, and face masks for everyone age 2 years and older. We kept any patients with COVID-19 symptoms or possible exposure separate from the rest of our patients, team members and facilities, using special care units and dedicated team members. We designed even stricter disinfecting protocols to keep our facilities free from the risks of COVID-19. Through these actions and many more, Connecticut Children’s succeeded in protecting its patients, team members and community during the initial phase of the COVID-19 outbreak. We also carefully prepared for the phase that our community is entering now. As our state gradually reopens, and we welcome your child back for in-person procedures and appointments, you can count on us to keep them safe and sound. I’m worried about my child getting sick. Is it really safe to bring them to an in-person appointment?Yes. We know that the transition to this “new normal” may feel scary. But we want to assure you that we are now resuming in-person procedures and appointments because we’re confident that we can do so safely. Safety has always been a top concern and focus at Connecticut Children’s, and now we have developed a new enhanced safety program to keep your child and family safe when they come to see us for their important medical care. Connecticut Children’s safety measures are backed by clinical expertise. Our team is carefully trained. And we are all driven by the same commitment: Nothing is more important than your child’s health. Are Video Visits an option for my child?In many cases, yes! We offer Video Visits in more than 30 specialties. Call your child’s specialty clinic to schedule. Learn more here. How will Connecticut Children’s enhanced safety program keep my child and family safe at in-person procedures and appointments?Team members Our team members only come to work if they are healthy: We require temperature checks every single day – you’ll see a sticker on their badge showing that they’re fever- and infection-free – and we even have employee drive-through testing available for COVID-19. All of our team members are equipped with proper Personal Protective Equipment, and everyone is required to wear a face mask, whether or not they’re in a clinical role. Facilities We follow rigorous cleaning and disinfection practices, which meet or exceed the standards developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have created new policies to make it easy for team members and patient families to practice social distancing, including designated waiting areas and guidelines for safely navigating elevators and other public areas. Visitors We follow strict screening guidelines to make sure that children and caregivers who come to our facilities do not expose themselves or anyone else to COVID-19. Before a patient’s procedure or visit, we screen the entire family by phone for possible exposure or symptoms. If we think someone in the family may be at risk, we require that they be tested for COVID-19 (and receive a negative result) before an in-person visit, or we arrange for a different care plan. This way, we make sure they get the care they need while keeping our facilities infection-free. We continue to uphold visitor restrictions at our locations, including limiting the number of caregivers who may accompany a child’s visit. We check the temperature of every visitor upon arrival, and require face masks for everyone age 2 years and older. In addition to the above safety measures, we’ve created lots of educational materials for team members, pediatric practices and families. You can find all of our resources for families here. Surgery FAQs What can I expect before, during and after my child’s surgery?Here are the general details. Scroll down for detailed FAQs. Before The week before your child’s surgery, we’ll give you a call to talk through your child’s medical history and ask COVID-related questions to find out about any possible exposure to COVID-19. As long as your child and family haven’t had any recent COVID-19 exposure, we’ll take one last safety precaution: testing your child for COVID-19. We’ll call you to schedule a day and time for a drive-through COVID test, to take place at our Hartford location within five days of your child’s surgery. From waving hello to waving goodbye, it takes less than 15 minutes. We’ll get your child’s COVID-19 test result within 72 hours, and call you to share. As long as the result is negative, we’re good to go! Questions about the COVID-19 test? Check out the Covid-19 Testing FAQs below. The day of surgery For now, just one parent or guardian may accompany your child. We know it’s hard, but please know it’s the best way to keep everyone safe. We’ll take everyone’s temperature on arrival. You’ll wear masks – your own from home, or one of ours. To maintain social distancing, you’ll be given a designating waiting area. We’ll keep up the social distancing throughout the entire visit. When it’s time for surgery, our team will bring your child into the operating room while you wait outside. We’ll take great care of your child – and we’ll keep you updated via our mobile app the entire time. See below for details about how we create a nurturing environment for kids – and use our mobile app to give caregivers peace of mind. The day after surgery We’ll call to check on your child, answer any questions, and thank you for trusting us to do what we love most: taking care of kids! How is the surgery experience different now than it was before COVID-19? When we call prior to surgery to discuss your child’s medical history, we’ll ask about any possible symptoms or exposure to COVID-19 within your family. A COVID-19 test is now required for your child (with a negative result) within five days before the procedure. We’ll schedule this for you at our drive-through testing site. Only one parent or guardian is allowed to accompany your child to the procedure. Everyone’s temperatures are taken upon arrival. If someone is running a fever, we’ll make alternate care plans. Everyone age 2 and older is required to wear a mask (unless they have a medical reason not to). Throughout the visit, everyone will practice social distancing. Rather than waiting in a common space near other patient families, you and your child will be assigned a designated “zone” or private room. Our team members will all be wearing masks, and clinical team members will have additional safety gear like gowns and head gear with plastic face shields. Caregivers no longer enter the operating room with their child. To keep everyone safe from the possibility of infection, our team will bring your child back into the operating room while you wait outside. We’ll stay in touch with you via our mobile app the whole time. (See below.) How will my child’s doctor keep me updated during the procedure?Through the EASE mobile app, your child’s doctor and care team can send messages and even photos from the operating room right to your mobile device, keeping you informed about every step of your child’s medical procedure. It’s secure, HIPAA-compliant, and available for both Apple and Android devices. Here’s more information about the EASE app. How are you taking care of my child’s emotional well-being during all of this?Our team members join Connecticut Children’s because kids are truly at the center of everything we do, and every decision we make. We’ve found lots of ways to help kids feel comfortable with our enhanced safety guidelines. For example, during COVID-19 testing, we wear buttons with our photos on the outside of our gowns, so your child can see who’s smiling at them behind all that safety gear. At our Hartford location, our Child Life specialists prepare children for medical procedures in an age-appropriate way, creating an environment that feels normal, empowering and even fun. At all of our locations, our team members bring advanced training in pediatrics – and our own experiences as parents, aunts, uncles, older siblings and mentors. We have a lot of practice caring for kids in a way that’s reassuring and positive. We know how to talk to them and explain what’s going on in a way that doesn’t feel intimidating. When you place your child’s care in our hands, we do more than keep them safe. We make sure they feel comfortable, special and every bit as awesome as they are. COVID-19 Testing FAQs Why is the COVID-19 test a requirement before surgery?We’re serious about minimizing the risk of COVID-19 exposure for our patients, team members and community, and making sure that kids are as healthy as possible for their surgical procedures. Some children have such mild coronavirus symptoms, they never even realize they’re infected – so before their surgery, we now require a COVID-19 test. How is COVID-19 testing arranged?We’ll call you to schedule a day and time for a drive-through COVID-19 test, to take place within five days of your child’s surgery. From driving up to waving goodbye, the appointment will take less than 15 minutes. Read on for more details. Where is the drive-through testing? Our drive-through COVID-19 testing is located at our main hospital at 282 Washington St., Hartford, CT. We’re working to add more testing sites soon. Can I bring my child to be tested at another facility?Please don’t. We want to make sure your child is tested in the safest way possible, and that we have control over when we receive test results, to ensure that their surgery can happen as planned. Other facilities may not be able to guarantee test results in the required turnaround time. You’re also likely to have a longer appointment wait time, and find that you and your child have to step out of your car – a risk we’d rather avoid in the days leading up to your child’s surgery. What will happen at the COVID-19 test?At your appointment time, you’ll drive up and one of our nurses will greet you at your car. They’ll be wearing a gown, gloves and mask. You’ll lower your car windows, and our nurse will carefully place a swab (it looks like a long Q-tip) up your child’s nostril to collect a sample from the back of the nose. This is called a “nasal swab.” It lasts about 10 seconds. It’s a little uncomfortable, but it’s not painful. You’ll be in and out in less than 15 minutes, and you and your child get to stay in the car the whole time. Is the COVID-19 test covered by insurance? Do I pay out of pocket?The federal government has issued a statement ensuring coverage for COVID-19 tests, so your insurance plan should cover testing without any out-of-pocket cost to you – but we encourage you to call your insurance company for specific information. What if my child was previously tested for COVID-19?We require testing within 5 days of your child’s surgery date, to be as careful as possible about ensuring they’re COVID-free at the time of surgery. This means that even if your child previously had a COVID test, we will schedule a new test for them at our drive-through testing site within that 5-day window. When will we know my child’s COVID-19 test result?We’ll get the test result in 48-72 hours, and we’ll call to share it with you. As long as it’s negative, we’re good to go! What happens if the test result is positive?We will cancel your child’s scheduled surgery, and work with you to determine an appropriate date to reschedule. In the meantime, we can connect you with medical advice for caring for your child and self-quarantining. Is the COVID-19 test only for my child? What about the rest of my family?Due to the limited availability of testing supplies in the U.S., at this time we are only testing patients. We hope to have tests available for parents and siblings soon. When we call to schedule your child’s COVID-19 test, we’ll ask screening questions about your family’s possible exposure to COVID-19.