Don't Press Pause on Your Child's Health Care

By Larissa Biggers
May 26, 2020
A graphic of a woman and child getting masks at a clinic entrance

If your child’s recent appointment was cancelled because of COVID-19, it’s time to reschedule without delay. Missing immunizations, screenings, or delaying care for a chronic condition can compromise your child’s health. Pediatricians at Duke Health want you to know that caring for your child safely is our top priority. Duke Health has put many safety measures in place to ensure your family, and our team, are safe and protected while minimizing the spread of the virus.

The Same Quality of Care

While the quality of your child’s care remains the same, “how your child receives that care might be different,” said Richard Chung, MD, Adolescent Medicine Specialist at Duke Children’s. Pediatricians and specialists are offering telehealth visits through phone calls and video visits. Telehealth has proven to be an effective, efficient way to deliver health care and can be appropriate for managing a range of childhood issues such as asthma, behavioral challenges, and skin conditions.

When In-Person Visits Are Necessary

There may be times when an in-person appointment for your child is needed. For example, your child may need labs or other tests to help manage a chronic condition. Or, your child may need a time-sensitive immunization that shouldn’t wait. “We don’t want families to just press pause and stop thinking about health care for six months,” explained Sara Page, MD, a pediatrician at Duke Children’s Primary Care - Brier Creek. By that point younger children, in particular, may be behind schedule. “We don’t want to lay the groundwork for preventable infectious diseases if we can avoid it.”

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“We don’t want families to just press pause and stop thinking about health care for six months.”

Sara B. Page, MD

Strict Safety Standards

If your child’s doctor recommends an in-person visit, you should be aware that Duke has put in place several safety precautions to ensure your family’s safety, as well as the safety of our team. “During this time, even our most fragile patients – infants and those with complex chronic conditions – can be cared for safely in our hospitals and clinics because of the strict safety standards in place,” said Angelo Milazzo, MD, a pediatric cardiologist at Duke Children’s Specialty Services of Raleigh. These precautions include enhanced cleaning with CDC-approved products; screening all patients, visitors, and staff before entering our facilities; spacing out times between appointments; encouraging social distancing in waiting rooms; and requiring everyone to wear a mask.

If Your Child Needs Immediate Care

If your child is very sick or has a life-threatening injury, don’t hesitate to call 911. If your child has an urgent, non-life-threatening emergency, call your pediatrician or visit an urgent care near you. If the situation is not time-sensitive, contact your primary care provider and schedule an appointment. Your pediatric team may be able to use telehealth to assess the situation and recommend next steps. Likewise, if you believe your child is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, contact your doctor before going to any medical facility.

Stay Healthy

The flood of information about COVID-19 can be overwhelming and confusing. Still, it is important to focus on staying healthy. Start by scheduling overdue well-child visits and contacting your doctor with questions and concerns. Rest assured that Duke Health safety policies and the ways we care for children are continually growing and evolving to meet your family’s needs.