COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Updates

Keeping Families, Children, and Employees Safe

Updated April 6, 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).

To limit the spread of illness, we have implemented temporary visitor restrictions. Volunteers, interns, students, tours and onsite meetings with external partners will not be allowed at any ChildServe locations. Our inpatient programs (long-term care and inpatient rehabilitation) and ChildServe group homes are currently closed to all visitors and non-essential staff.  

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

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

All children and families will be screened upon entry and asked the following questions:  

  1. In the last 14 days, have you or any member of your household had symptoms of COVID-19 or been diagnosed with COVID-19?
  2. In the last 14 days, have you or any member of your household traveled outside of the state of Iowa, including taking a cruise or traveling internationally to any country outside of the United States?
  3. Do you or your child have a temperature greater than 100.4°F or new onset of any of the following symptoms?

– Cough
– Sore throat
– Muscle aches
– Shortness of breath
– Diarrhea

Outpatient Families (Therapy, DME, Orthotics, Behavioral Health, Physician and Specialty Clinics, and Day Health Programs): If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, we will not hold your session that day, or until you and your child are in good health. We encourage you to self-screen at home and postpone your sessions ahead of time if you are ill or have been exposed to Coronavirus. Due to the unique health challenge that COVID-19 brings to our community, we will work around our normal attendance policy.

Residential Program Families (Group Homes, Long-term Care Unit and Inpatient Rehabilitation): Visitors of any kind are currently not allowed in ChildServe‘s long-term care unit, inpatient rehabilitation unit, and group homes. 

Community Service Families (Respite, SCL, Day Habilitation, Homecare, and Case Management): We encourage you to self-screen at home. If you, you answer “yes” to any of these questions, please postpone your services onsite, in the community and in your home. ChildServe‘s Day Habilitation and Group Respite services are temporarily suspended at this time, per the direction of the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Childcare Families: We encourage you to self-screen at home. If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, we will not be able to provide childcare services for your child until he or she is in good health.

Visitor restrictions are temporary and subject to change as necessary. 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 we serve. 

Our thoughts are with all those affected by this virus, and we encourage you to join us in being careful, as well as mindful of others, during this time.  Please see the FAQ section below for more important information.

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 World Health Organization (WHO), 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 has been monitoring COVID-19 and 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 learn more about COVID-19.
  • 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 all visitors and non-essential staff. In our outpatient services, only the child who receives care and primary caregivers are allowed entry. These temporary visitor restrictions will begin immediately and are subject to change as necessary.
  • All children, family members, and staff will be screened upon entering any ChildServe location.
  • Our facility teams are following strict cleaning protocols in waiting room and high-touch areas.
  • We ask that children, families and visitors self-quarantine if they are exhibiting symptoms.
I have traveled recently – should I still come to ChildServe?

If you have traveled internationally to any country outside of the United States in the last 14 days, you should not come to ChildServe. If you traveled outside of Iowa since March 13, we ask that you wait 14 days from your return to Iowa before coming back to ChildServe

I don’t feel well – should I still come to ChildServe? (How to Self-Screen)

If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, please wait to visit until you are certain you are in good health.

 

  1. In the last 14 days, have you or any member of your household been diagnosed with COVID-19?
  2. In the last 14 days, have you or any member of your household traveled outside of the state of Iowa, including taking a cruise or traveling internationally to any country outside of the United States?
  3. Do you have a temperature greater than 100.4˚F or have new onset of any of the following symptoms?

– Cough

– Sore throat

– Muscle aches

– Shortness of breath

– Diarrhea

What can I do to avoid getting or spreading COVID-19?

The best way to prevent any viral illness is to avoid being exposed to a virus. These are a few actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses: 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Foundry Distilling Co. will offer free hand sanitizer available to the community beginning March 20th. The hand sanitizer is 60% alcohol by volume and will be produced daily at the company’s facility in West Des Moines. Guests can bring in their own container up to 12 ounces in size and the Foundry staff will refill it, with a limit to one refill per customer per day. A schedule of refill times is available on Facebook. 

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 your hands. 

If you feel sick and think you may have been exposed to a virus, the Iowa Department of Public Heath recommends calling 211. The 211 medical call line will be staffed with medical professionals daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to help alleviate the increased call demand on clinics and hospitals. The 211 line should be used the same way an individual would contact their healthcare provider. The line will answer questions about mild symptoms and whether you need to be tested. If you have mild symptoms, call 211 and do not immediately go to your healthcare provider or emergency room.

MercyOne, Primary Health Care, UnityPoint Health and Broadlawns are each asking anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 to call 211 to speak to a medical professional first. 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.

Each health system will be using the same guidelines for determining whether a patient qualifies for testing. These criteria are subject to change but will be updated and available on the Polk County Health website. Current criteria state that you will only be tested if you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.

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

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.

Why is ChildServe limiting visitors?

This was a decision we made after careful consideration. Based on guidance from the Polk County Health Department, the CDC, and following suit with all the local hospitals, ChildServe is restricting visitors to protect the children and families we serve and help reduce the spread of illness due to COVID-19.

 

If I cannot attend appointments due to illness or childcare needs, will my child lose their spot?

If you do need to cancel services while this policy is in place, your child will be able to resume services immediately after our visitor restriction is lifted, without going back on the waitlist. That is our commitment to the families we serve. We will keep families updated when our visitor restrictions are lifted.

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 the visitor restriction 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!

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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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