September 24, 2020
Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is reminding our community of the Virtual Emergency Clinic for families who are concerned that their child may require emergency care.
Since its launch in May, over 500 families have been accessed the Virtual Emergency Clinic, and 150 of those families were referred to the Paediatric Emergency Department. “We usually see an increase in volumes once the school year begins,” says Dr. Rod Lim, Medical Director, Paediatric Emergency Department at Children’s Hospital. “We want to remind families of this alternative care option especially with school re-openings.”
The virtual clinic allows parents and children to speak to a paediatric emergency room physician by video to discuss the child’s condition and, together, determine next steps such as seeing a primary care provider, or coming to the emergency department.
“As we begin to see an increase in COVID-19 in our community, LHSC continues to plan for an anticipated second wave,” says Dr. Paul Woods, President and CEO, LHSC. “Our hospitals remain safe and our community can be confident in our safety protocols. However, we know families might be concerned about coming to the hospital, and we are very proud to offer effective and reassuring care delivery innovations, such as the virtual paediatric emergency clinic at Children’s Hospital.”
The virtual clinic have adjusted their operating hours to best meet the needs of parents and their children during the school year. It operates 7 days a week from 4 pm – 7 pm and does not replace in-person visits to the Emergency Department; rather, it provides a way for families to reach out for care if they may be hesitant to visit the hospital because of COVID-19. Because patients are not seen in person, care providers cannot diagnose or prescribe medication during the virtual appointment, but they do ensure that new or developing conditions do not worsen without treatment.
Parents seeking a virtual visit can call 519-685-8735 between 4 pm - 7 pm and will be connected with clerical staff who will generate a patient registration and send an email invitation to join a Cisco Webex meeting. This invitation will include instructions to download the software on their smartphone or laptop, and what to expect during their appointment.
When the parent and patient join the Webex meeting, they’ll be placed in a private virtual waiting room. A physician will then consult with the patients/parents on a first-come, first-serve basis. Parents should ensure their “visit” takes place in a quiet room with good lighting so that the physician can clearly see and hear the child.