The mental and physical health of our children, youth, and families is so very important in the best of times. With the current state of our city, state, and the world, ensuring the health and well-being of our community is even more challenging
Our Health and Wellness team is on the frontlines to ensure that children receive primary health care services in addition to protection against the coronavirus. These highly skilled health care professionals routinely provide crisis intervention, yet they are truly going beyond the call of duty by also providing families with COVID-19 prevention information, and the tools they need to practice good hygiene as they are self-isolating.
Here are just a few recent examples from the health front:
- Babies still need close medical attention. We have provided medical care to some new patients who were not able to get treatment by their provider. A 6-month old’s doctor had cancelled a routine well-child visit which would have resulted in delayed vaccinations. We were able to see the baby in our community clinic and ensure that the child’s vaccinations were received on schedule. Our team’s swift action prevented the newborn from being hospitalized and risking unwarranted exposure to the coronavirus at a vulnerable age.
- We have been executing COVID-19 testing, with several positive results, including a 5-months old. Every precaution is taken to provide personal protective equipment for staff so they can stay healthy and continue providing care.
- Our team is conducting daily tele-health check-ins with families, providing an opportunity to also educate families on pandemic health best practices and encourage them to seek care at our facilities to avoid overloading hospital emergency departments.
- Dental health may not seem essential right now, but if a child is in pain or cannot eat properly, his overall health can plummet. Dr. Levy, one of our dentists, has seen multiple new patients, some of whom had clearly never received dental care. One child presented with terrible carious lesions and pain. Dr. Levy stabilized the child helping him to eat again pain-free.
- Good mental health is paramount during this challenging time. Children and youth are cooped up in close quarters, feeling the stress and anxiety build around them. They may be subject to mental or physical abuse, both of which are seeing a rise now that we are forced to stay indoors. Our behavioral health staff is maintaining weekly contact with high-risk families and conducting outreach to teens to help as much as possible.
- Teens will be teens, still, no matter if they should be social distancing or not. Our school-based clinics dispensed six months of birth control to clients before schools closed in anticipation of stay-at-home orders. Clinic staff are conducting telephone outreach to adolescents and making referrals to our community clinics for STI checks, birth control refills, LARC insertion, and preventative care. Health education continues with our peer educators conducting remote health education activities. As always, these services continue to be available to all without financial barriers.
Everyday greatness is one of the mainstays of our Health and Wellness Team. They are continuing in this tradition in their efforts to help children and families in poverty maintain critical health during this crisis.