For kids with complex medical conditions like Josie Greco, regular medical appointments can’t stop just because there’s a pandemic. Continuous, exceptional care has been part of Josie’s life since her premature start in 2008 as an Akron Children’s NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) baby, and it’s this proven-level of support from Children’s that her mom trusts to care for Josie during in-patient visits now.
“We’ve experienced first-hand, over and over again, the excellent care Akron Children’s provides. We rely on Children’s and now is no different,” said Jean Greco, Josie’s mom. “We trust our Akron Children’s team of specialists is always doing their best to care for Josie, so we find the extra precautions they’ve put in place to protect against this virus very comforting.”
Josie is a transplant patient so part of her care plan requires monthly lab workups. One of her outpatient lab appointments was in April when COVID-19 cases were peaking in Ohio.
“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about it (COVID-19) at the time, but as soon as we walked into the waiting room we noticed changes (signage and temperature checks) that helped put me at ease,” said Jean. “In May, we noticed more changes like no sign-in sheets, tape on the floor to show proper distancing and Plexiglas barriers in front of desk staff. Our orthopedic visit this week was our first in-patient visit since this all started and we noticed even more precautions being taken, which we welcomed and are thankful for.”
Earlier this month, Josie was scheduled for surgery but it was postponed due to the pandemic. Now, under guidance from the Ohio Department of Health, Children’s is able to expand the number and types of procedures available to its patients, including Josie’s surgery.
Prior to rescheduling, Josie needed an in-person consultation with orthopedic surgeons, Drs. Kerwyn Jones and Patrick Riley, Sr. to determine the best path forward. And, once again, Josie’s mom was comforted by the extra precautions the surgeons took.
“They spoke with each other in the hallway about where they would stand before even setting foot in the examination room,” said Jean. “They both greeted us like normal while they washed their hands and even reassured us that all the tables had been wiped down. We expected that, but it’s was comforting to hear.”
Although there are more safety measures in place, they don’t interfere with physicians providing a thorough clinical exam.
Dr. Jones notes some of the changes include a preference to have the exam room door open, masks always being on, only one parent or guardian with the patient, and physicians sit 6-feet away from everyone until the physical exam is performed, at which point physicians must be within the 6-foot safe range.
Josie also needed an X-ray at her visit, and technicians followed the same safety protocols as the physicians. Since orthopedics has its own X-ray equipment within the department, it alleviated the need for Josie to visit another department and minimized her exposure with others.
“I appreciate everything the entire hospital staff does to keep Josie safe, but I also think doing my best as a parent to protect her is important,” said Jean. “I’m always prepared with my own wipes, sanitizer and masks, and I’m also 100% comfortable approaching staff if I ever have a concern about Josie’s safety or well being. I know they will do everything they can to accommodate us. That’s just how they are and, again, why we trust them with our daughter’s life.”
Josie has done a virtual visit via MyChart Telehealth but, looking ahead, her mom knows she’ll need more in-person visits.
“All of our appointments have gone smoothly, but we need to get back to in-person visits with some of her specialists to better move forward with needed treatments that were put on hold. We’ve already scheduled several appointments through next month,” added Jean.
Akron Children’s remains committed to safety protocols that support and protect our patients, families and staff. Learn more about Akron Children’s COVID-19 response and resources available for families.