COVID-19 has forever changed our society, but it’s time to navigate our way forward with our new normal — together.
While some things may look different at Akron Children’s Hospital, one thing hasn’t changed: our commitment to treating every child as if they were our own. That’s why our Department of Surgery’s top priority remains the safety of our patients, their families and our staff.
We want to assure you that we have taken all necessary precautions, in addition to our normal cleaning protocols, to ensure a safe environment for your child and family. So even in these uncertain times of COVID-19, please continue to bring your child in for consultations and all surgical procedures to keep your child healthy.
“Depending on your child’s needs, delaying a procedure could potentially turn it into an urgent procedure down the road,” said Dr. Mark Wulkan, Akron Children’s chairman of the Department of Surgery. “Seeking care early gives your child a better chance for the best possible outcome.”
So, don’t delay your child’s procedures and treatment plans. Early detection and treatment improve a doctor’s ability to provide the most comprehensive and effective care for your child.
If you still have concerns, read on. Dr. Wulkan answers your most pertinent questions about what you and your family can expect when your child needs surgery at Akron Children’s.
What extra safety precautions is Akron Children’s taking for surgical procedures?
At Akron Children’s, serving our patients in a clean and safe environment has always been of utmost importance. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have redoubled our efforts to provide a safe environment for you, your children and our employees. Closely following the governor’s and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, here’s what you can expect:
- Testing patients for COVID-19 before they have surgery.
- Continually educating and retraining all caregivers on personal protective equipment and hand hygiene.
- Decreasing the number of visitors.
- Limiting entry points at the Akron and Mahoning Valley campuses.
- Monitoring the temperature of patients, visitors and staff. Thermal scanners are being used and a temperature will only be taken to validate a result above 100.4 degrees.
- Practicing social distancing at all of our facilities. Families can check in for appointments when they arrive using Mobile Check-in and then stay in their vehicles until it’s time to come inside.
- Giving surgical masks to all Akron Children’s employees working on-site.
- Asking everyone visiting an Akron Children’s facility to wear masks or face coverings, except for kids under 2 or those with sensory issues. Masks will be provided for visitors who do not bring their own.
Will my child have to be tested for COVID-19 prior to the surgery even if she doesn’t have any symptoms?
To ensure protection of our patients, families and staff, all children will need to be tested for COVID-19 prior to their scheduled procedures and surgeries. You will receive instructions via a phone call from your surgeon’s office. This applies to all surgeries and procedures on the hospital’s Akron and Boardman campuses.
Preoperative patients who are being tested less than 3 days prior to the surgery or procedure date must go to the Akron or Mahoning Valley campuses, not a health center.
Get details on where preoperative COVID-19 testing is available.
What should I do if I suspect my child has COVID-19?
If your child is sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing, your child’s procedure or surgery may need to be delayed. Your child should be well before undergoing any elective surgical procedure to ensure her health and safety.
If you suspect your child has COVID-19 or has been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, call your child’s primary care provider. Your child’s pediatrician will determine if additional steps need to be taken to care for your child, and he will work with Ohio’s public health department and the CDC to determine if your child needs to be tested for COVID-19.
Together, your child’s primary care provider, surgeon and your family will determine how to best proceed with her procedure.
What to expect the day of surgery?
The Department of Surgery does not utilize Mobile Check-in on the day of your child’s surgery. Instead, you will go directly to the surgery location to check her in.
Immediately upon entering the building, you and your child’s temperature will be taken, either by a thermal scanner or a greeter who will also ask you a few questions.
Once you arrive in the preoperative waiting room, you’ll notice signs and a limited number of chairs. This is to remind our patients to keep 6 feet of physical distance between your family and others. Your child will be roomed as soon as possible in order to limit the amount of time your family is in the waiting room prior to surgery.
Can family members be at the hospital during surgery and visit afterwards?
As we work together to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we have implemented visitation restrictions for surgical procedures. Please be aware of the following:
- For surgery, 2 adult caregivers are allowed to bring their child and remain in the hospital throughout surgery. You will be instructed on specific visitation upon admission for surgery.
- Inpatients may have up to 2 adult caregivers designated as visitors for their hospital stay, and both are permitted at the bedside. Exceptions may be made for patients with a length of stay greater than 28 days.
- Visitors must be 18 or older unless the under 18 visitor is the parent or guardian of a patient. Siblings are not permitted.
Does surgery increase my child’s risk of contracting COVID-19?
There is no evidence to suggest that undergoing surgery puts children at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19.
Doctor offices have always practiced strict infection-control procedures, and Akron Children’s has made even more changes to help keep patients and our staff safe amidst a continuing pandemic.
“Our surgeons and staff are specially trained to safely take care of patients even in a pandemic,” said Dr. Wulkan. “We are committed to providing the right care at the right time in the right location, while ensuring the safety of everyone. We look forward to best serving your family.”
Learn more about Akron Children’s COVID-19 response and resources available for families.