COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Updates

Keeping Families, Children, and Employees Safe

Updated September 4, 2020

At ChildServe, our number one priority is ensuring the health and safety of the children, young adults, and families we serve, and all our team members. Our COVID-19 Task Force has been closely monitoring recommendations from public health officials regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

Health and Exposure Screenings:

Anyone who enters our buildings will be screened at the door, including answering a series of questions and having their temperature checked. If you answer “yes” to any of the screening questions, we will not hold your session that day, or until your child has met the Return to ChildServe criteria. We encourage you to self-screen at home before your visit to ChildServe. You should postpone your visit ahead of time if you are ill, have tested positive or had known close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, or have traveled outside of the country or taken a cruise. Please see the FAQ section below for more details on our COVID-19 screening questions. 

Masking:
Masking is required in all ChildServe locations for anyone who enters our buildings. Children who are not able to tolerate a mask, are under the age of two, or have medical conditions that could be negatively impacted by wearing a mask are exempt from this requirement.

Visitor Restrictions:
To limit the spread of illness, we have implemented temporary visitor restrictions. These restrictions are subject to change as necessary. Volunteers, tours and onsite meetings with external partners are currently not allowed at any ChildServe locations, and we have limited the number of family members allowed in the building for many of our services. We understand these visitor restrictions may be difficult. While we are committed to providing a family-centered care environment, right now restricting visitors is in the best interest of the children and families we serve. 

The following visitor restrictions are in place for the children and families we serve in our various services:

Outpatient Families (Therapy, DME, Orthotics, Physician and Specialty Clinics, and Behavioral Health programs): Only the child who receives care and primary caregivers are allowed entry. Primary caregivers include, but are not limited to: 

  • Parents/stepparents
  • Spouse/significant other
  • Other defined caregiver (siblings are not allowed unless 16 years of age who are also identified as the defined caregiver)

Primary caregivers must:

  • Be 16 years of age and older (including sibling caregivers)
  • Limit movement within the facility
  • Remain in treatment rooms as appropriate
  • Be free from illness, such as fever, sore throat, cough, diarrhea, vomiting or runny nose

Telehealth sessions are currently available for many outpatient services. Contact your provider for more information.

Residential Program Families (Group Homes, Long-term Care Unit and Inpatient Rehabilitation): Outdoor visitation is occurring according to a phased approach which considers multiple risk factors including trends in positivity within the county and the presence of any positive cases in staff or residents, among other factors. Contact your inpatient administrator or house supervisor for more information. 

Community Service Families (Respite, SCL, Day Habilitation, Homecare, and Case Management): We encourage you to self-screen before receiving services. If you answer “yes” to any of the screening questions, please postpone your services onsite, in the community and in your home. 

Childcare and Day Health Families: Our Childcare and Day Health services are required to operate under screening and exposure guidelines dictated by the Iowa Department of Human Services. Please self-screen at home and do not bring your child in for services if they are ill. If you answer “yes” to any of the screening questions, we will not be able to provide childcare or day health services for your child until he or she has met the Return to ChildServe criteria.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is ChildServe doing to protect my child?

ChildServe has a plan in place to continue to provide the safest care possible. We have been following the lead of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) since news of COVID-19 first broke earlier this year.

  • ChildServe’s Infection Control Council established a COVID-19 Task Force with dedicated resources and authority to implement change as the need arises. The task force is in frequent contact and continues to make recommendations to protect the health of those in our care as we navigate this global pandemic.
  • ChildServe has implemented visitor restrictions at the advice of the Iowa Department of Health. To limit the spread of illness, all non-essential visitors will be restricted from all ChildServe locations. Our long-term care program, inpatient rehabilitation program, and group homes are currently closed to non-essential staff and limited visitation opportunities have been carefully designed to limit the spread of illness while allowing family members the chance to interact with their child. In our outpatient services, only the child who receives care and primary caregivers are allowed entry. These temporary visitor restrictions are subject to change as necessary.
  • Anyone who enters a ChildServe location will be screened at the door for exposure, travel, and illness, including a temperature check.
  • Masking is required in all ChildServe locations. Exemptions are available for children under 2 years old, or those who can not tolerate a mask or have medical conditions that restrict them from wearing a mask.
  • Our facility teams are following strict cleaning protocols throughout our buildings, including more frequent cleaning in waiting rooms and high-touch areas.
What are the screening questions for children and families?

If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, please postpone your visit:

  1. Have you or anyone with you today tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days, or had known close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) with anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days?

  2. Are you or anyone with you today currently experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 that are not typical for you? This symptom list is targeted at non-chronic symptoms that are a new onset, outside of your normal baseline, and not related to seasonal issues. Symptoms include any ONE of the following: 
     – Fever greater than or equal to 100.4°F (38°C) without the use of fever-reducing medications like Tylenol or Motrin
    – Chills
    – Cough
     Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    – Muscle or body aches
    – Loss of taste or smell
    – Sore throat
    – Runny nose or congestion
    – Diarrhea
    – Fatigue
    – Headache
    – Nausea or Vomiting
  3.  Have you or anyone with you today traveled outside of the country or taken a cruise (including river cruises) in the last 14 days?
What are the screening questions for Childcare and Day Health?

If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, please postpone your visit:

  1. Has the child(ren) receiving services tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days, or had known close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) with anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days?

  2. Are you or anyone in your home currently experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 that are not typical for you? This symptom list is targeted at non-chronic symptoms that are a new onset, outside of your normal baseline, and not related to seasonal issues. Symptoms include any ONE of the following: 
     – Fever greater than or equal to 100.4°F (38°C) without the use of fever-reducing medications like Tylenol or Motrin
    – Chills
    – Cough
     Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    – Muscle or body aches
    – Loss of taste or smell
    – Sore throat
    – Runny nose or congestion
    – Diarrhea
    – Fatigue
    – Headache
    – Nausea or Vomiting
  3.  Have you or anyone with you today traveled outside of the country or taken a cruise (including river cruises) in the last 14 days?
I have traveled recently – can I still come to ChildServe?

If you have traveled to anywhere outside of the country or taken a cruise (including river cruises) in the last 14 days you should not come to ChildServe

What should I do if I feel sick, or think I may be getting sick?

If you are sick, to keep from spreading your illness to others, you should:

  • Stay home and isolate from others until you are in good health.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze, preferably into your elbow or sleeve. If a tissue is used, immediately throw the used tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, such as cell phones, cups, toys, handles, countertops, etc.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands often.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

If you feel sick with mild symptoms and think you may have been exposed to a virus, you should call 211. The 211 medical call line is staffed with medical professionals daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and should be used the same way you  would contact your healthcare provider. The line will answer questions about mild symptoms and whether you need to be tested. Hospital emergency rooms and 911 should be reserved for patients who are in severe respiratory distress. If you have symptoms before or after the hours of the 211 medical phone line, then call your healthcare provider.

Visit the CDC website to learn more about best practices to keep your family healthy.

Why is ChildServe limiting visitors?

This was a decision we made after careful consideration. Based on guidance from the CDC and the Iowa Department of Public Health, ChildServe is restricting visitors to protect the children and families we serve and help reduce the spread of illness due to COVID-19.

When will the visitor restriction be lifted?

Unfortunately, we do not know. As long as public health experts perceive COVID-19 as a threat, it is likely that our visitor restrictions will stay in place.

How can I help my child prepare for their telehealth session?

ChildServe‘s therapy team created a social story to help children adjust to therapy sessions provided via telehealth instead of in-person visits. A simplified version for kids who prefer visual schedules is also included at the end of the story. Click here to download the social story and visual schedule. Feel free to share this resource with anyone who might need it!

Where can I get trustworthy information about COVID-19?

These organizations are the most-trusted places to get information about COVID-19:

Iowa has established the 2-1-1 hotline, which is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. The 2-1-1 line is staffed with nurses to answer questions related to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). If you experience symptoms after hours that can’t wait until the next day, please call your primary care provider. In a true medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

How can I help ChildServe?

We are grateful to the many friends of ChildServe who have reached out to us asking how they can help during this unprecedented time. ChildServe is currently accepting donations of PPE, including homemade masks (see mask pattern here) and homemade gowns. Please contact Joy Batten for more information. If you are interested in giving financially to ChildServe, you can learn more at www.childserve.org/giving.

Masking & Distancing Makes a Difference

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ChildServe improves the health and well-being of more than 4,600 children each year through specialized clinical, home, and community-based programs and services. We serve children with developmental delays, disabilities, acquired injuries, and other special healthcare needs.

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