The Pediatric Emergency Department (Pediatric ED) is a place for children ages 21 and under to receive immediate care. Staffed by pediatric emergency medicine doctors and pediatric trained nurses, our Pediatric ED treats approximately 15,000 patients each year. Visiting the Pediatric ED can be scary and overwhelming, especially during and after a pandemic, but rest assured that we are taking every precaution to keep you and your family safe. Here is what you can expect when visiting the Pediatric ED post COVID-19.
After checking in, a nurse will evaluate your child’s symptoms, complaints and vital signs which include weight, temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygenation. Our medical personnel will always be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure the safety of our staff and patients.
The amount of time you wait usually depends on your child’s symptoms and how busy the Pediatric ED is. Wait times can range from 15 minutes to several hours, but if your child’s condition changes while you wait, let someone know. Social distancing measures will be implemented in all waiting rooms. Patients and family members will be instructed to sit at least 6 feet apart. There will also be signage to assist with social distancing as well as acrylic shields at check-in stations.
If your child is over the age of two, you are encouraged to have your child wear a mask. Another way to prevent the spread of infection is to consider bringing books, headphones or other forms of entertainment for your child so that they aren’t tempted to wander off or touch communal surfaces while they are waiting.
Like all of our staff, your child’s doctor will be wearing PPE and practicing hand hygiene and social distancing (unless patient care requires closer interaction). While this can seem scary for some children, help to reassure them that it is for everyone’s safety. The doctor will gather all necessary information and perform a routine exam. Be prepared to discuss your concerns with your child’s doctor and ask any questions you may have during this time.
Being discharged home is different for every child. Some children may be treated and then sent home, while others may not require any treatment. Some children may be prescribed medication to take home, while others may not. Depending on the diagnosis and your child’s condition, they may be admitted staying in the hospital for monitoring and/or further treatment.
Regardless of the diagnosis, make sure to continue monitoring how your child feels and know when to see a pediatrician versus returning to the Pediatric ED. When you return home, practice social distancing and continue to quarantine until your child feels better and restrictions have been lifted.