Getting Pediatric Appointments Back on Track
During this time of COVID-19, parents have many questions when it comes to their children and scheduling appointments with their pediatrician. From managing regular medical appointments, getting vaccinations and immunizations, or even maintaining routine well-baby check-ups, which situations require in-person visits and is it safe to bring your child into the doctor’s office?
Wellness visits and immunizations are vital to a child’s health, and our pediatric offices have set measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We are doing everything we can to keep you and your little one safe. These types of appointments are critical childhood milestones, especially for infants 2 and under, and are designed to assess infant and toddler developmental stages, ensure appropriate growth and nutrition, and optimize vaccinations before your child comes into contact with a potentially life-threatening infection.
In addition to medical recommendations to continue your wellness visits, each state has specific immunization requirements children must meet to participate in public education. Your local health department website can provide more information on these recommendations (for Louisiana, click here. For Mississippi, click here). Many vaccines need to be spaced at certain intervals, and missing an appointment may put your child behind the schedule you need for future enrollment.
Scheduling Your Appointment
Before making your appointment, contact your pediatric office to see if the type of appointment your child need requires an in-office visit, or if a virtual visit option is available. For visits that require you and your child to go in-person, be sure to wear a face mask. The CDC recommends that anyone over the age of 2 wear a face mask if you anticipate coming in contact with others. Those under the age of 2, people who have difficulty breathing, anyone who would have trouble taking the mask off by themselves, or anyone who is unconscious or incapacitated should not wear a face mask to avoid suffocation.
For in-person visits, you should expect social distancing measures to be followed when visiting our office. To practice social distancing, chairs and tables will be spaced out, acrylic shields will be placed over registration desks and there will be directions on signs and on the floors to signify proper distances. You also have the option to fill out paperwork ahead of time through the My Ochsner/ My Chart app. Patients will be directed to exam rooms as soon as they arrive to limit contact with others. Our staff will also practice social distancing unless it is necessary to come in closer contact for patient care.
Extra measures are being taken to ensure all patient rooms and public areas are cleaned and sanitized. While our staff is always diligent about cleaning our facilities, we have increased the number of times a day that our staff cleans all public areas.
Our pediatric offices are following our visitor policy guidelines when it comes to caretakers attending appointments with children as well. Please refer to our updated visitor policy to know how many parents/guardians are allowed to attend the appointment.
Virtual appointments are great for many sick patients and can be used to assess for many common conditions. Check with your provider before scheduling to see if a virtual visit is the best option for your child. In most cases, advising on whether to test for COVID-19, ADHD assessments, evaluations of anxiety, and even some well visits can be done virtually with your provider.
Learn more about making pediatrics appointments at Ochsner.
The information in this blog post is accurate at the time of publication. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to change, it's possible that information has changed since being published. While Ochsner Health is trying to keep our blog posts as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations by using the CDC website.