Seeking urgent care during the COVID-19 pandemic
As a parent, it can be difficult to know what to do when your child is sick or injured, especially in the hours when your pediatrician’s office is closed. Should you look for medical care right now or is it something that can wait a few days? Can it be cared for at home?
Seeking care in the era of COVID-19 can be even more daunting. While coming to a medical clinic may feel like a risk, especially when you don’t know if you need to be seen, avoiding care isn’t the right answer! Texas Children’s Urgent Care is here for you and your child during this unprecedented time and everyone's safety remains our number one priority.
Here is what we can do together to make sure your visit is both recommended and safe:
Call your pediatrician's after-hours number: If your child is sick or injured and you’re not certain if your child needs to be seen, call your pediatrician's nurse triage line. You will be able to speak with a nurse to determine if your child’s symptoms may be cared for at home, can be seen by your child’s pediatrician the next day, or if you should consider being seen immediately. Remember, urgent care is the right place for mild to moderate illnesses and injury, while emergency centers should be used for any conditions that are life- threatening. For more information, see our blog: Help! Do I take my child to the emergency center or urgent care?
Save your spot: Save My Spot is a way to designate your arrival time and save your place in line. Texas Children's Urgent Care has opened up more time slots and is strongly encouraging their use. Saving your spot allows our urgent care clinics to more evenly distribute patient visits throughout the day so fewer patients are arriving at the same time and less time is spent waiting to be seen. Additionally, some telemedicine options are currently available with plans to expand this service in the near future. The Save My Spot feature affords our providers the best opportunity to review your child’s information in advance of your visit to determine if this may be the best option for your family. Please consider using this MyChart feature to help us better serve you!
Limit who you bring to clinic with you: To reduce traffic in our clinics, we are encouraging only one parent or caregiver over 18 years of age to accompany each pediatric patient and are asking, if possible, not to bring siblings, children or other visitors younger than 18 years of age.
Follow our screening protocol: Upon arrival at one of our urgent care clinics, you will be greeted by a screener who will ask you a series of questions about the symptoms you or your child may be experiencing or exposures you may have had. Your temperatures will be checked and you will both be provided with a mask. Children younger than 2 will not be asked to wear a mask. Your response to our screening questions guide our staff on protective equipment to help keep everyone safe.
Keep your mask on at all times: Wearing a mask while in the clinic whether or not you have symptoms can help protect our staff and patients as the spread of COVID-19 can occur asymptomatically. All of our employees wear masks for your protection and undergo the same screening protocol you do prior to coming to work. Remember, the proper way to wear a mask is to cover both your nose and mouth. Please do not pull off your mask when speaking.
Keep your distance: After your screening, you will be placed immediately into one of our clinic rooms for registration and to wait for a provider. If a room is not immediately available, you will be asked to wait in your car until one is available. Staying in your room (or in your car) helps us keep distance between our patients. You are permitted to use the restroom, if needed, but please remember to keep a mask on when walking through the clinic.
Go paper-free!: After your visit is complete, we will minimize any paper handed to you. If you have My Chart, you will be able to access any patient instructions online.
If you have any questions about our processes, please call any urgent care location prior to your visit. We know this is a challenging time to navigate for all families and we are here and ready to provide quality and safe care for your child!
Post by: Dr. Viraj Radia