Coronavirus Updates for Cardiac Center Families
Updated May 26, 2020
The Cardiac Center recently hosted a Virtual Town Hall to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on cardiac patients and families. This event was recorded and available to view.
"Is it safe to seek healthcare for my child?"
As we navigate this challenging, stressful time together, we want you to know that we are here for you. The Cardiac Center is open and ready to continue providing comprehensive, high-quality care to our patients with congenital and acquired cardiovascular disease.
To date, there is no evidence to suggest that our otherwise healthy patients with repaired congenital heart disease are at an increased risk as compared to the rest of the population. We do know that some of our heart patients are very fragile, and we wish to keep our most vulnerable patients as safe as possible. There are many precautions we are taking to support broader public health efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We are monitoring the situation closely and adapting our policies as needed to ensure the safety of our patients, families and staff.
We will continue to update our families regularly with key information. Read below for more details about the precautions in place to keep you, your children and our staff safe, and what to expect when you come back to see us.
IMPORTANT REMINDER: If you or your child develops a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, contact your medical provider immediately. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your/your child’s symptoms. They will coordinate safe testing and treatment and get you the care you need.
Appointments and Procedures
Elective surgeries/cardiac catherization/testing, admissions and outpatient visits
After much preparation and thoughtful planning to insure maximum safety, we are now resuming more in-person outpatient clinic visits. Telemedicine options (more details below) will remain in place as well, for those patients that would prefer to be seen that way and do not need to have an in-person exam as determined by your cardiologist. We are also now resuming scheduling of all Cardiac surgeries, catherization, MRIs, echocardiograms – not just urgent and emergent cases, as we have been doing for the past several weeks.
We want you to know that we are confident we can offer all of these services responsibly and safely.
Here’s what you can expect when you come back to see us:
Changes to Clinical Care
The Cardiac Center has implemented many changes to limit COVID-19 transmission both in clinics and on inpatient units. These changes include:
- Parents are screened daily for symptoms of COVID-19. Parents with a fever, respiratory symptoms or GI symptoms may not accompany their child.
- Remote staff — including nutritionists, psychologists and interpreters —reduces the number of providers each child sees in-person.
- Some public spaces have been closed; others are being cleaned regularly.
- Patients who test positive for COVID-19 are cared for on separate inpatient units with specific isolation requirements.
Screening/Testing for COVID-19
The Cardiac Center makes a safe and thoughtful plan for each in-patient visit. This includes screening and testing patients and caregivers for symptoms of COVID-19.
If you are scheduled for an in-person visit, you will receive a call the day before your appointment. We use a symptom questionnaire to screen for markers of the virus, and will also ask about symptoms of family members and whether you live in an area with a high prevalence of COVID-19.
All admitted patients and any patient receiving anesthesia or sedation will be tested for COVID-19. Procedures may be delayed for patients who test positive to allow time for appropriate clearance. Children who have been exposed to the virus (or who live in an area of high prevalence) may require special isolation, even if testing negative.
Restricted visitation procedures are in place for all appointments and hospital visits. To keep our patients, families and staff safe from COVID-19 and other respiratory viral infections, we ask you to reduce the number of parents or caregivers as much as possible to all Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia sites.
Our current COVID-19 restricted visitation policy is that no more than two healthy parents or caregivers (18 and over) are allowed to visit patients in the hospital or accompany patients to any appointment at a CHOP location. Parents and caregivers cannot be ill (must be without fever, cough or other concerning symptoms), nor have testing pending for COVID-19. Siblings are not permitted, with the exception of breastfeeding infants. These procedures are in place during this rapidly changing situation as the prevalence of COVID-19 continues to increase in our community. Per New Jersey regulation, only one caregiver may accompany your child at Specialty Care and Ambulatory Surgery Centers in Voorhees, May’s Landing (Atlantic County) and Princeton.
If you visit any CHOP facility at this time, you’ll notice that all employees are wearing protective masks. We take this extra precaution to prevent possible COVID-19 exposure between staff members. By staying healthy, we’ll be sure to be here when you need us.
Based on CDC recommendations for the public, CHOP now asks that all parents and caregivers visiting a CHOP facility wear a mask as an extra layer of protection. Upon arrival, parents and caregivers will be provided with a disposable mask along with a storage bag and instructions. We appreciate your support in wearing a mask to help keep everyone safe.
Read more about the many safety measures in place:
Telehealth Options / Video Visits
The Cardiac Center is actively using telehealth, including video visits, with excellent results and family satisfaction.
If you are interested in a telehealth visit, send a message requesting a “Cardiac Telemedicine Visit” through your MyCHOP account, or call our office at 215-590-4040 and our staff will assist you with setting up your visit.
Staff from the Cardiac Center will review your child's medical history and make recommendations about whether your child can have a telemedicine visit or if your child needs an in-person visit or more urgent care.
Please check with your health plan to confirm that your insurance covers video visits with CHOP providers.
We encourage you to sign in to your MyCHOP account to ensure you can successfully access your account. If you have questions, or need to sign up for MyCHOP, please call us. Prior to your telehealth visit, review these instructions for getting set up for video visits with a Cardiac Center provider.
PLEASE NOTE: For video visits, you will need a mobile phone or tablet. The video visit experience is best on a mobile device, so it is strongly recommended that you use a phone or tablet, and use Wi-Fi when possible, instead of your cellular network. While it is possible to use a laptop this is strongly discouraged, as you may experience technical difficulties which would impair the quality of your visit.
Urgent Care and Emergencies
CHOP’s four pediatric urgent care locations remain open with regular hours. Video visits may be an option for patients and families in PA and NJ. Our Emergency Department (ED) is also open. Please only visit our ED if your child is experiencing a true emergency.
- Get the answers to frequently asked questions around COVID-19.
- Physical distancing (also called social distancing) is very important to help slow the spread of COVID-19, but it can be particularly hard for children. Watch this short video for helpful tips to make physical distancing more manageable.
- Read our Child Life specialists’ tips for talking to children about COVID-19.
- If your child’s healthcare provider has recommended COVID-19 testing, read these tips for preparing your child for drive-thru testing.
- These are stressful times, and caring for our mental health is critically important. Learn simple strategies to help you and your child cope with stress and anxiety.
- Read more about COVID-19 and Congenital Heart Defects from Global ARCH and Children’s HeartLink.
If you are at all concerned about your child’s condition, please do not hesitate to reach out directly to your child’s cardiologist or primary care physician.
For outpatient appointments, please call 215-590-4040.
For second opinions, referrals, and information about our services, please call 267-426-9600.