What to Expect in our Network (Primary, Specialty and Urgent Care) During COVID-19

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Please note that because we are a healthcare facility, all eligible visitors, even if fully vaccinated, need to wear a mask at all times in all of our facilities and locations. Thank you for partnering with us to keep our patients, families and staff safe.

If you have mild symptoms or need a COVID-19 test, please use community resources instead of coming to the Emergency Room. That helps us to be able to care for serious medical emergencies. Find testing resources.

Our priority at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is to provide high quality, safe and effective care to all our patients and families.

If you're looking for information about an inpatient stay at one of our hospitals, or an Emergency Department visit, read more here.

High volumes & wait times

Like many medical providers across the country, we are experiencing an extremely high demand for sick visits due to a surge of seasonal illnesses like RSV and other respiratory viruses, the flu, COVID-19, and more. This has resulted in longer-than-normal wait times at many of our facilities.

We know that long wait times can be frustrating. We assure you that we are experienced in maintaining our high standard of care in this environment and are prepared to provide care for all patients who need us.

When coming in for an appointment, we recommend you bring any food, drinks, toys or entertainment necessary to make your wait as comfortable as possible, and please follow our current visitor guidelines

Right care, right place

We know it's challenging when your child isn’t feeling well. Fortunately, most mild illnesses can be safely managed at home, which will help minimize your child’s exposure to illness if they really don’t need to be seen in one of our offices. Getting patients directed to the right level of care from the start of their illness also helps reduce wait times for everyone so that we can focus on the sickest children who are at the highest risk for severe illness. 

If you’re unsure whether your child’s symptoms can be managed at home or require a trip to the doctor, try our symptom checker as a starting point. This can help determine what type of medical care your child may need, if any, or if their symptoms can be managed at home.

We have created this library of information and resources to help you prevent common bugs and treat your child's illness at home when it is appropriate to do so. Save this page to return to when you need it!

Remember, you are always the best judge of your child's needs.

Visitor guidelines

Who can visit

We understand how important the presence of families and visitors are to the health and well-being of our patients and families. We continually review and adjust our visitation policies. At this time, in continued efforts to keep our patients, families and staff safe from the flu, COVID-19 and other respiratory viral infections, our limited visitor policy is in place. 

Please review these guidelines carefully before coming to one of our facilities

Respecting each other

CHOP is a place of healing and compassion. As we navigate this challenging time together, we expect our patients, families and staff to act in a respectful manner — allowing everyone to be part of the conversation.

Inappropriate language, discriminatory slurs, threats and/or aggressive behavior will not be tolerated.

Your child’s health and safety are our top priority, along with the safety of our staff and of everyone in our facilities. We appreciate your patience and thank you for trusting us with your child’s care.

Ensuring everyone’s safety: Important reminders for while you’re in any of our facilities

Masks to protect our vulnerable patients

We ask all parents/caregivers, even if they are fully vaccinated, to wear well-fitted masks over their mouths and noses while they are at any CHOP location. This includes patients over 2 years old. Please let us know if your child has a hard time wearing a mask.

We will supply non-medical masks or you can bring one from home. Thank you for partnering with us.

See below for guidance on effective mask wearing.

Effective Masks and Masking: Cloth Masks and Medical Masks. Masks must cover both nose and mouth.
 
Ineffective Masks and Masking: Bandanas, Neck Gators, Valved Masks. Wearing mask with nose, or both nose and mouth exposed is also ineffective.
 

Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette

Please help us prevent the spread of germs by practicing good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, including frequent handwashing, covering coughs and cleaning surfaces such as phones.

Staff precautions

The most important precaution we take is hand hygiene. You will see this at all times during your interactions with staff. All staff are also required to wear masks while at work as part of our universal masking policy.

Other safety recommendations include staying home when ill. CHOP’s employee sick policy requires that any ill staff member must stay home from work if they are feeling sick. Staff are required to self-monitor for symptoms and report any illness that may develop while at work.

What to expect in outpatient care settings

  • Please be sure to follow the instructions from your specific care team before any scheduled visit.
  • In some areas, you may experience a longer-than-normal wait or be asked to postpone a well visit or elective procedure to a later date due to the current surge in illnesses in our community. We understand how frustrating this can be, and we apologize for any inconvenience and additional stress it may cause. 
  • No matter what type of visit you’re coming in for, we recommend you bring any food, drinks, toys or entertainment necessary to make your wait as comfortable as possible, and please follow our current visitor guidelines.

Telehealth video visits may be an option for some medical appointments, including consultations for a new issue, follow-up visits to see how a treatment or medication is working, and more. Your child’s provider will work with you to determine what visits can safely and effectively be done by video. *Please check with your health plan to confirm that your insurance covers video visits with your own CHOP providers.

Primary Care 

Appointment scheduling at our primary care practices is optimized to allow for us to see both well and sick children safely.

You can find ways to schedule appointments on your primary care practice website, including direct online scheduling for flu shot visits & well visits, as well as through the MyCHOP patient portal.

Please know you may need to wait longer than usual for an appointment as we do everything we can to make sure every child who needs us can receive the best care possible.

Specialty Care

Online scheduling is available in MyCHOP for in-person visits for most specialties. If you would like to discuss appointments or speak with a nurse about your child’s health, or need a MyCHOP account, please contact the specialty directly.

Our specialists can also offer video visits* in some cases. Telehealth options differ by specialty. Your specialist will consider whether telehealth is appropriate for your child when scheduling or changing an appointment.

Urgent Care and emergencies

Because of the surge of seasonal illnesses, our emergency rooms and urgent care centers are experiencing an extremely high volume of patients. Please be aware that this has resulted in longer-than-normal wait times. 

When coming to one of our Urgent Care centers, we recommend you bring any food, drinks, toys or entertainment necessary to make your wait as comfortable as possible, and please follow our current visitor guidelines.

More tips:

  • Getting patients directed to the right level of care from the start of their illness also helps reduce wait times for everyone so that we can focus on the sickest children who are at the highest risk for severe illness. Please only visit our ED if your child is experiencing a true emergency.
  • If you’re unsure whether your child’s symptoms can be managed at home or require a trip to the doctor, try our symptom checker as a starting point. This can help determine what type of medical care your child may need, if any, or if their symptoms can be managed at home.

Remember, you are always the best judge of your child's needs. Do not hesitate to go to an Emergency Room if you think your child is experiencing an emergency. 

Read more about what to expect in our Emergency Departments »

Thank you for partnering with us and trusting us with your child's care.

Updated: December 8, 2022


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