Have questions about the coronavirus? Call Connecticut Children’s Pediatric COVID-19 Hotline:

Safe and Sound

Nothing is more important than your child’s health.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Connecticut Children’s has worked around the clock to maintain a safe environment for our patients, families and team members. No matter what kind of care your child needs, or which Connecticut Children’s location you visit (including your own home, by Video Visit!), you can count on us to keep your child safe and sound.

Safety FAQs

Throughout the coronavirus outbreak, Connecticut Children’s experts have worked closely with other national and global leaders to assess new information and respond with rigorous safety measures, backed by clinical expertise.

Get a quick overview of our safety guidelines

  • We introduced Video Visits in more than 30 specialties.
  • 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,  including temperature checks and questions about COVID-19 risk. For your convenience, you can now complete COVID-19 screening questions before you leave home at covid.connecticutchildrens.org.
  • We created separate spaces and systems to quarantine and care for any patients with COVID-19 symptoms or possible exposure 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.

Connecticut Children’s is committed to protecting its patients, team members and community from COVID-19, and continuing to evolve and adapt with the very best safety measures.

Yes. We know that the transition to this “new normal” may feel scary. But we want to assure you that all of Connecticut Children’s locations are open and safe.

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 at all of our locations throughout Connecticut and Western  Massachusetts. You’ll find lots more details below.

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.

In many cases, yes! We offer Video Visits in more than 30 specialties. Call your child’s specialty clinic to schedule. Learn more here.

Want a quick overview of our safety guidelines? Check out this infographic.

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. For your convenience, you can now complete COVID-19 screening questions before you come in at covid.connecticutchildrens.org.
  • 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.
  • We offer a Virtual Waiting Room at most of our locations, and contactless eCheck-in everywhere – which means you may be able to wait in your car, if you choose, and skip the sign-in desk at your child’s appointment. See below for details.

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.

We can only allow one adult and one child at a time due to the size of the rooms and our commitment to social distancing, which we are following in all of our locations to protect against COVID-19. We also have a special responsibility to keep children healthy, which means limiting the number of people who come in and out of our facilities. For now, visitor restrictions remain an important part of that.

Yes! As part of Connecticut Children’s promise to keep kids safe and sound, we offer contactless eCheck-in; a self-service tool for COVID-19 screening questions; and at most locations, a Virtual Waiting Room.

You can use eCheck-In (via MyChart) to check in to your child’s appointment virtually, up to three days in advance. With MyChart, you can also sign documents, confirm or update information and pay any copays right from home.

To save you even more time, you can complete COVID-19 screening questions from home at covid.connecticutchildrens.org. See below for how it works.

And at most of our locations, you can choose to wait in your car instead of the lobby with our Virtual Waiting Room. You’ll simply text us when you arrive in the parking lot, and we’ll let you know when we’re ready for you to come in. (If you prefer to wait inside, just let us know. Our waiting areas are set up for social distancing.)

Note: Virtual Waiting Room is not available at Connecticut Children’s hospital at 282 Washington St., Hartford, or at 100 Retreat Ave., Hartford

To keep everyone safe, Connecticut Children’s requires that every patient, caregiver and team member answer screening questions about possible COVID-19 symptoms or exposure before entering any of our locations.

To save time (and prevent any inconvenience!), you can answer these COVID-19 screening questions from home at covid.connecticutchildrens.org.

If you see a green check mark, you’re clear to come in! Just show the results to our temperature screener when you arrive.

If you see a red exclamation point, stop and give us a call (we’ll provide the best phone number). We’ll gather more information and decide what to do next, whether that’s rescheduling your child’s appointment or making special arrangements to keep everyone safe.

We’ll remind you about all of this before any scheduled appointments, including a reminder text the day before. If you’re planning to bring your child into one of our locations without an appointment, you should visit covid.connecticutchildrens.org and complete the screening questions before leaving home.

Surgery FAQs

Here are the general details. Scroll down for detailed FAQs.

preparing for surgery infographic

 

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

  • Up to two designated adults may accompany your child. For now, no siblings or other visitors are permitted.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.)

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.

Our team members join Connecticut Children’s because kids are truly at the center of everything we do, and every decision we make.

  • 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.

Emergency Department FAQs

Is it safe to bring my child to your Emergency Department(ED)?

Yes! Connecticut Children’s Emergency Department is open and safe.

If your child needs care – including non-emergent care for medical conditions such as asthma, allergic reactions and diabetes – please don’t wait to bring them in.

We’ll give your child they care they need, and keep them safe and sound every step of the way. Here’s how:

  • We’ve essentially set up two separate emergency departments: one for patients who have COVID-19 symptoms or known exposure, and one for those who don’t. This system allows us to deliver great care to every child while protecting everyone against the spread of COVID-19.
  • From the moment you arrive, you’ll notice a few changes. Patients and caregivers are rapidly screened outside the Emergency Department for COVID-19 symptoms or exposure. Patients who are at risk of COVID-19 go to one entrance and area of the department. Patients without COVID-19 symptoms or known exposure go to a different entrance and area.
  • Whenever possible, we use a “rapid triage” system to put you and your child in your own room right away, avoiding the waiting room. Once again, patients who may be at risk of COVID-19 are cared for in a dedicated part of the hospital, including negative-pressure rooms when appropriate. If your child is immunocompromised, we have special systems, spaces and team members to care for their health needs.
  • Just like everywhere else at Connecticut Children’s, all Emergency Department team members wear a mask (along with all patients over age 2, visitors and team members). Our team members are screened daily to ensure they’re healthy. They wear all appropriate personal protective equipment to evaluate every patient. And of course, we’re doing extra cleaning and disinfecting, plus additional precautions like covering high-touch surfaces.
  • Our Emergency Department has always been rigorous about safety measures. Right now, we’re as safe as ever. Please don’t put off emergency care for your child – it could save their life. You can count on us to keep them safe and sound.

COVID-19 Testing FAQs

A screening is a series of questions about possible COVID-19 symptoms and exposure, which help determine a person’s risk for COVID-19. Along with a temperature check, Connecticut Children’s requires that every patient, caregiver and team member answer these questions before entering any of our locations. To save time, you can answer these COVID-19 screening questions from home at covid.connecticutchildrens.org.

A COVID-19 test is the actual lab test to determine if your child currently has coronavirus. See below for more information.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. Here’s how to prepare your child for the test.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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. 

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.

Resources

Masking Up: Tips for Wearing Masks

Preparing for Your Visit

Preparing for COVID-19 Testing

Additional Resources

Coronavirus Resources for Families

Get answers to frequently asked questions about the coronavirus, find tips for helping your child manage anxiety, explore ways to prepare your child for the return to school, and more! New resources are added weekly. 

Safe and Sound: Esmae's Story

Just as the coronavirus outbreak was nearing its peak in Connecticut, Esmae’s parents learned that she would need ear tube surgery right away. Learn how our enhanced safety program kept Esmae and her family safe and sound every step of the way. 

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