Ms. Hester provides the essential basics based on CDC recommendations surrounding possible exposure and contacting HCPs for any child who is febrile, coughing, and/or short of breath. Parents trust their HCPs, thus speaking with them is an essential part of the treatment plan, especially for parents of children with chronic illnesses. Prevention is critical, so following the recommendations from the national experts should be discussed with each parent. Parents may want to know the “temperature” of their entire household: Should we recommend taking everyone’s temperature twice a day until we no longer have any reported cases of COVID-19? Advise parents to call their HCP first before going for a routine office visit. Practices should consider asking pre-questions to elicit a history of possible exposure and make recommendations for care based on the assessment findings. Another form of communication is via social networking. Practices can create a Facebook practice group or use texting to keep in contact with parents. Let parents know that any and all of these preventive efforts are to keep their family healthy.
Communicating with parents of teenagers and young adults
The time is now for parents to establish firm rules for teenagers and young adults in their households to assume personal responsibility for their actions and how they may adversely affect the lives of their family members. With the unanticipated closure of elementary schools, high schools, and colleges, parental actions are paramount to controlling the spread of COVID-19. Inform parents “School is in session ONLINE across the United States—have no doubt.” Teachers and college professors are prepared to provide quality education for every student online BUT parental support, in particular, establishing the rules and enforcing them, is critical to achieving the academic goals for each child, adolescent, and college student.
Supporting our colleagues on the front lines every day battling COVID-19
We are fortunate that we have HCPs who are committed to providing high-quality health care to all. Supporting each individual through our words and actions is a top priority. We are also fortunate that we are digital. It takes only a few seconds to send a text, an email, or a social media post that says each person in the health care industry is so appreciated and so valuable.
Never be too distracted to connect COVID-19 and the social determinant of health
As HCPs, we must recognize and act upon the enormous stress COVID-19 is placing on families whose environment places them at high risk for adversity. Families affected by the social determinants of health often lack the coping skills to maintain the physical and mental health of the family. Establish maintaining mental health a top priority now. Do not permit COVID-19 to be our only focus! Think and ask about the stressors in individual and family lives. Think critically about preventing those so stressed by these unknown circumstances totally outside their control, who turn to illicit drugs for relief, or excessive use of alcohol, or even worse, suicide. Establish and implement mental health treatment plans that go hand-in-hand with the diagnosis of COVID-19.