How CHOP Changed with COVID


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Philadelphia, United States – April 16, 2016: A weekend day at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia located in the Upenn campus

Liron Brunner, Staff Writer

I have written several articles on how Covid-19 impacted organizations or groups of people, but there is one that I haven’t mentioned. That would be CHOP, or the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, known to be the best children’s hospital in the country. It handles every medical need or problem that your kid has, such as cancer, leukemia, or even an annual check-up. 

The coronavirus pandemic alarmed the general public about going to the hospital or clinics, where the battle against COVID-19 is centered. Even non-coronavirus patients, who were already in critical health conditions, are risking themselves by being in the hospital, but it is their only hope at dealing with what they have.

Just like all hospitals or clinics, CHOP had to improvise when it came to meeting with children for their appointments. They have taken a similar approach to the situation that many other medical organizations have, which is to have online appointments if the family does not feel comfortable going to the building itself. These online options include consultations, follow-ups, or check-ins on how a medication is working. 

Of course, there are certain appointments that do not work virtually such as growth, blood tests or checkups, so the question that many people think of is: “Is it safe to go to a CHOP hospital and/or clinic?” There are many risks in going, but there are more in staying at home if something comes up.

The answer is yes, even though many people are wary of going to a medical center, CHOP has taken several steps to ensure safety. There are not as many people in the building, there are hand sanitizers and wipes, everyone must wear a mask, the food area is closed, and there are screens separating the receptionists from the visitors.

CHOP is one of the most iconic and well-known children’s hospitals in the country, so many people count on them so they wouldn’t let them down, and they would go the extra three miles to make sure that you are safe.

Going to a medical center is scary, but CHOP is pulling all the stops to make it as safe, and clean as possible. The building, offices, and waiting areas are extremely organized and thought out, especially the waiting area, which I think they have done a great job at managing.

They have placed tape and signs over specific chairs to stop people from sitting too close to each other, and the majority of the games that they had in the waiting area are gone. They have been extra cautious in every regard, trying very hard to make sure that families feel safe getting their check-ups or appointments.

They have even built a new page on their website dedicated to calming the nerves of those who may be doubtful of coming to the medical center, or those who may need help coping with the effects of the pandemic. For example, there are tips on therapeutic breathing, guided relaxation exercises, managing emotions, how to handle missing milestones, and many other tricks to maintain mental health.

On top of helping you with your appointments and mental health, CHOP has been receiving funds to do research on the effects of Covid-19 on preterm birth and prenatal care. They have partnered with the Independence Blue Cross Foundation and two other foundations that have funded CHOP with $300,000 in grants.

The research isn’t just from CHOP. Yale University, Nemours Children’s Health Care System, and Northwestern University are also doing research on the topic.

Not only is this consortium trying to understand Covid-19’s effect on preterm birth, but they are going to use this research to try and understand why it occurs at all. In understanding preterm birth, they hope to find ways to prevent it from happening at all.

“We will determine not only the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on birth outcomes and prenatal care, but we may also learn important lessons about prenatal best practices that could improve prenatal care and birth outcomes outside of a pandemic scenario,” said Heather Burris MD, an attending neonatologist at CHOP.

CHOP has always been multitasking, and now they are adding to their initiatives by using the Covid-19 pandemic to their advantage. They are using it to bring together a consortium to focus on why preterm birth occurs and how to prevent it, while at the same time they are helping kids even when they can’t meet face to face.