Keep Kids Safe During COVID-19 

Dr. Kenneth Thomas

Imagine what it’s like to be kid today: you’ve lost the routine of school, can’t see your friends or go play, can’t even hug your grandparents and suddenly see everyone wearing facemasks. It feels scary to adults and professionals, it certainly feels scary to kids.

Stress affects children differently than adults, and many children will not have the tools to express the feelings they are experiencing.  Start with helping them understand why we are all taking these precautions, said Dr. Kenneth Thomas, Director of Children’s Services, Swope Health.

“It is important that kids understand that these actions are designed to protect everyone,” Dr. Thomas said. “Help them understand that by following the rules – washing their hands, staying 6 feet apart and wearing a mask — they have a role in keeping everyone in the family safe.”

This is not to punish anyone, he added. “It is to keep us all safe. We each protect the other,” he said. “I protect you, you protect me.”

Also, Dr. Thomas added, giving your kids time to voice their fears, anxiety and frustrations is a good idea. Reassure them that life will return to normal eventually, although it might be a “new normal” and that’s OK.  “Point out what good has been discovered because of all this,” he added.

Here are some additional suggestions for helping your kids stay safe.

Keeping Kids Safe During The COVID-19 PandemicWash your hands.

We know that frequent hand washing is the best way to stop the spread of germs. When should you wash your hands? Wash after sneezing or coughing, after playtime, before handing food and after using the bathroom. Teaching your children these healthy habits now will lead to a heathier life in the future.

Maintain physical distancing.

While the stay-in-place orders are lifting and our communities are going back to business, it is still important to maintain physical distancing and avoid physical contact. The virus travels partially through the air in our saliva or mucus, which can spread through talking, singing and laughing, as well as coughing or sneezing. The closer we are, the more likely we are to spread the virus to the people we love. It is important to explain to out children that by keeping this distance we are saying “I love you” until we can hug our loved ones again.

Limit Screen time.

Studies already show that screen time does not help children’s brain development, but kids do love playing on smartphones and tablets. Find different ways that children can be creative. For example: Have family stretching time where you and the whole family take a moment to turn off the screen and tune into the movement of your body.

Lead by Example.

Children are always watching how we live our lives and often act out the same behaviors they see. It is important that you model the behavior you want your children to have.

Remember that you are the first line of defense when it comes to advocating for your health and the health of your child.

Swope Health Kids Care is ready for your children and their healthcare needs. Call us at 816-923-5800 to schedule an appointment.

More Resources:

For more information on how to help your child during the time of COVID-19:

Open Letter to the Community

Jeron RavinBy Jeron Ravin, President and CEO of Swope Health

I want to acknowledge the anxiety and stress many of you are enduring with the recent unrest in Kansas City. The events and subsequent demonstrations have surfaced a multitude of emotions: anger, despair, anxiety, and fear, but also commitment, courage and hope.

At Swope Health, our associates all share a working knowledge of systemic inequalities. We see them every day. The harsh reality is that inequities and injustices are not merely theoretical, but are real, life limiting, and often weaponized against communities already facing historical neglect, marginalization, and brutality.

The senseless death of George Floyd was the catalyst for the unrest you see today. But the pain and anger you see from many, including me, is that George Floyd recalls the memory of Ahmaud Arbery, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, Travis Miller, Christian Cooper and far too many others to list.

To the mothers and fathers raising children of color, I imagine the burden of worry you wear hangs heavy. One of my favorite leaders, Martin Luther King Jr., once wrote “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I hope this is true. We long for the day when all our children have the same freedoms, without worry for their safety in a society that dehumanizes them, built on systematic injustice.

I believe this is a time to care for yourself and your families first and foremost. Recognize anxiety, stress, and pain, and take time to address it. It is appropriate to ask for help if you are struggling. It is also appropriate to lend your ideas. We will listen.

I also believe this is a time to use your voice. Standing against inequality – in healthcare, housing, education, the application of the law and practices of law enforcement – is not a political act, but a moral one.

Finally, remember that the very existence of Swope Health is an action to combat these injustices. Recall, our founding 50 years ago was in a time of similar civil unrest. Community leaders sought to attack the structural, social, and economic roots of poverty and racism. In 1969, then called the Model Cities Corporation, Swope Health was born.

This is still our mission. Yes, we are profoundly saddened that the same fight continues, but we won’t waiver in our commitment to it. We are called to make a difference in the lives of the least, lost, and the too often left behind. It is precisely times like these when they need us and our voice most. Feel empowered; we have more work to do.

In service to justice,
Jeron

Swope Health Logo

 

What you can expect in “reopening” at Swope Health

Swope Health: Reopening

Extra cleaning is underway every day at Swope Health.

As stay-at-home guidelines are relaxed and the community begins reopening, Swope Health is also planning a series of measured steps for the safety of our associates, patients and community.

Swope Health is coordinating reopening actions with the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and that of the various city and county agencies in our area. While we are excited to see you, our approach is to use an abundance of caution for the protection and safety of all.

Our reopening plan follows three general phases, each lasting two weeks, and assumes the community rate of infection remains steady or decreases. If COVID-19 cases increase or other rules are issued, these plans may change.

Under this plan:

  • Phase 1 started May 18
  • Phase 2 starts two weeks later, on June 1
  • Phase 3 starts two weeks later, on June 15

Some things won’t change. Swope Health is continuing with all current infection prevention precautions, including COVID-19 screening at entrances, separating sick and well patients, requiring physical distancing, providing facemasks, and encouraging frequent handwashing and sanitizing. We also continue to encourage patient telehealth visits where appropriate.

Throughout these next several weeks, we are also developing plans to improve the efficiency and breadth of our video telehealth services. We are also developing longer-term initiatives to redesign our lobby spaces for better physical distancing.

Here is a summary of current plans for Phase 1:

  • Swope Health: Reopening

    The Adult Medicine team at Swope Health Central is ready to welcome you!

    Swope Health Central: We will begin increasing Medical, Dental and Behavioral Health visits, including Radiology, starting Monday, May 18. All visits are staggered to allow for physical distancing and time for cleaning between patient encounters. After-Hours Clinic and Optical Shop remain closed.

  • In Behavioral Health, all group therapy and day program services are offered through telehealth only. Telehealth visits are encouraged for all services.
  • Swope Health Belton will reopen for Monday through Friday operations starting Monday, May 18. It will remain a “well” site with visits by appointment only.
  • Swope Health Independence will begin gradually increasing Medical patient visits starting May 18. Dental will remain on a rotational schedule in Phase 1: Closed the week of May 18 and open week of May 26. Dental will resume full time care in Phase 2 (June 1).
  • Swope Health Wyandotte remains open with the COVID-19 clinic on the first floor and well clinics separate on the 4th Both Medical and Dental services will begin gradually increasing face-to-face visits.
  • Swope Health will continue COVID-19 testing in the community, in support of Kansas City Missouri Health Department and Wyandotte County Unified Government Health Department initiatives. (See org homepage for the current list.)
  • Swope Health Northland, Hickman Mills, West, East and Maple Woods remain closed in Phase 1.

In Phase 2, starting June 1:

  • Swope Health Northland will reopen full time for Dental and Medical.
  • Optical Shop will reopen. One patient will be allowed at a time in the shop.

In Phase 3, starting June 15:

  • Swope Health West and Swope Health Hickman Mills will reopen.
  • Swope Health East and Swope Health Maple Woods will reopen pending plans by Tri-County Mental Health Services and Comprehensive Mental Health Services.

Remember, before coming to any Swope Health location please call 816-923-5800. We can answer your questions and schedule your appointment.

Swope Health Provides COVID-19 Testing

COVID-19 Testing

Photo credit: CDC

We are happy to report that Swope Health is offering COVID-19 testing from our Central facility, 3801 Blue Parkway, Kansas City, Mo., and our Wyandotte clinic, 21 N. 12th St. in Kansas City, Kan. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

What you need to know:

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, we encourage you to call us at 816-923-5800. You will speak with a provider who can assess your situation and schedule you for a test.

If you are a Swope Health patient, we can schedule you at the Central drive-through clinic near Building C or at the Wyandotte COVID-19 office. Both are separated, as a precaution, from other areas of the clinics that are open for non-COVID-19 healthcare.

If you are not a Swope Health patient, you must complete registration before we can schedule an appointment. This must occur in person at this time, so we will ask you to come to either the Central or Wyandotte COVID-19 clinic to register. Please bring an ID, proof of address, health and health insurance records with you. While there is no charge for COVID-19 testing, you may be eligible for sliding fee payments for other healthcare services, so please bring proof of income as well.

You can learn more about registration and download forms in advance, if you like. Forms are available in English and Spanish.

Swope Health COVID-19 Testing in the Community

Swope Health is also conducting testing at locations in the community. If you are interested in having Swope Health professionals conduct testing at your church or non-profit location, please contact mmarroquin@swopehealth.org or akuhnlein@swopehealth.org.

View our homepage header for the most current information on community testing dates and locations.

The Testing Process

When you come for your test, we’ll talk with you about your symptoms and possible exposure. The first step in the test is collecting a sample. This involves placing a sterile swab, like a long Q-tip, at the back of your nasal passage for several seconds. It’s a bit uncomfortable but you can still breathe and talk.

After a sample is collected, the swab goes into a liquid-filled tube for transport to the testing lab. The collection itself takes several seconds. The entire encounter, including check in and completing paperwork, may take as long as 30 minutes. We typically receive results in about 48 hours and will contact you when we have the results.

Questions?

Contact Swope Health with questions about COVID-19 testing at 816-923-5800.

“Just awesome” – One Mom’s Review of Telehealth

Telehealth visits can take place from your smartphone, computer or tablet, as voice calls or video calls.

One Kansas City mom, who asked to remain anonymous, recently shared her joy at finding a safe, easy way to make sure her two kids, age 5 and 8, kept up with their well-child examinations:

“As parents, we are always so worried for our children. We want them to be healthy. It was about time for us to visit with their doctor, but I wasn’t sure what we were going to do, what with the pandemic. We were worried about coming in but I didn’t want to miss their time, either.

“You know, it’s hard. I’m an essential worker and I had to take time off to take care of the kids because we didn’t have daycare in place. But now I’m getting ready to go back to work and I needed find out what I could do.

“So I called in to see if there were any options. I was so happy to hear there was already something in place to take care of them.”

The solution for this mom was a telehealth visit, for both of her children. She continues:

“I was able to schedule on the same day. I had to cancel the appointment and reschedule, and even that was easy.

“We had a video call and it was so easy! I was able to see and talk with the doctor and she could see the kids. (They’re OK, thank God.)

“She was so very supportive and professional. I was just so happy.”

Telehealth Visit with Brianna Hoisington

Brianna Hoisington

Brianna Hoisington, Nurse Practitioner in Pediatrics, at Swope Health Central

This family’s visit was with Brianna Hoisington, Nurse Practitioner in Pediatrics, at Swope Health Central.

“Telehealth has been a blessing during these times of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.  “Everyone is feeling uneasy and scared, so being able to supply our patients with access to us from the safety and comfort in their own home has been wonderful for all involved. We are able to video with our patients, which gives them that feeling of connection and knowing we care.”

She continued: “I love having the opportunity to check in on my patients, provide them with any of their care needs and, honestly, give them that feeling of being seen, noticed, and heard during this time where things can feel lonely and isolating.

“Seeing our kiddos from pediatrics thriving even during this isolation, assuring their parents they are doing a great  job, and getting them any medications and care a child might require is available immediately through telehealth and is a light for all during this time,” Brianna said.

Swope Health has offered telehealth services for some time, especially in Behavioral Health services, but the COVID-19 emergency actually helped speed up the acceptance of telehealth, said Dr. Jennifer Frost, interim chief medical officer.

“This is an important way for patients and providers to stay in touch, while respecting stay-at-home rules and avoiding unnecessary contact to prevent the spread of the disease,” she said. She noted the phone and video calls will not work for all patients – some will still have to be seen in person. But for many well-person exams, follow-up appointments, medication questions or counseling visits, the telehealth service works well.

Telehealth

Schedule a convenient telehealth visit to talk with your provider from your home.
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash.

As the KC mom will happily testify:

“It’s so important that parents know you’re doing this. I have a friend ta work who’s also worried about her health, and I’m going to tell her how she can take care of her appointment this way. It’s just awesome what you are doing.

“You’re helping me take care of my family.”

 To schedule a telehealth appointment, call us at 816-923-5800.
Find more information at
SwopeHealth.org/telehealth.

Swope Health COVID-19 Related Updates

Swope Central Facility Map for COVID-19

  • All patients should call 816-923-5800 before coming to any location. 
  • Swope Health Central and Swope Health Wyandotte are available to see patients who have symptoms of COVID-19. We have physically separate areas at both clinics to avoid interactions with well patients.
  • Swope Health Belton and Independence are designated as “well” clinics. No patients with COVID-19 symptoms will be seen at these locations. Swope Health Belton is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays only, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Services at our Swope Health After-Hours Clinic, Maple Woods, North, East, West and Hickman Mills clinics are temporarily suspended. 
  • Coming soon: Curbside delivery of pharmacy orders at Swope Health Central.
  • Todos los pacientes deben llamar al 816-923-5800 antes de venir a cualquier local de Swope Health.
  • Swope Health Central y Swope Health Wyandotte están disponibles para atender a pacientes que tienen síntomas de COVID-19. Tenemos áreas físicamente separadas en ambas clínicas para evitar interacciones con pacientes sanos.
  • Las clínicas de Swope Health Belton y Swope Health Independence están designadas como clínicas de “salud”. No se verán pacientes con síntomas de COVID-19 en estos locales. Swope Health Belton está abierto solo los martes y jueves, de 8 a.m. a 5 p.m.
  • Los servicios en nuestra clínica de atención médica después de horas de Swope Health y las clínicas en Maple Woods, North, East, Hickman Mills y West se suspenden temporalmente.
  • Las pruebas de COVID-19 están disponibles en Swope Health Central y Wyandotte para pacientes que cumplen con criterios estrictos. 
  • Próximamente: Ofreceremos entrega a su vehiculo de pedidos de farmacia en Swope Health Central.

Here’s what you can expect in a telemedicine appointment.

TelemedecineTo prevent the spread of COVID-19, some old routines are being shelved and new ones are developing.

For example, at Swope Health, we are encouraging patients to try out telemedicine using your home phone, a smartphone or computer to avoid an in-person visit and follow stay-at-home guidance.

Here’s what you can expect in a telemedicine visit.

The first step is a phone call. We encourage all patients to call us at 816-923-5800 before planning to come by, for any reason. When you call, we’ll first ask you about any COVID-19 symptoms. We will then find out what you need an appointment for and determine if we can take care of you through a televisit.

Not all patients can be cared for this way, noted Dr. Jennifer Frost, Swope Health interim chief medical officer. Some patients will still need to be seen, in person, and in those cases, an appointment will be scheduled for you at one of our Swope Health locations.

The telemedicine appointment.

When your appointment is scheduled, you’ll specify whether you’d like a phone call or a video call. At the agreed time, Swope Health will contact you by whichever method you specified. If you’ve scheduled a call through the Swope Health Patient Portal, you’ll connect to the call from the portal.

The first part of the call involves making sure we know who you are. We will ask questions to verify your identity, such as your date of birth or address. We will ask for your agreement to conduct the telemedicine visit and you will have to say that you agree or select “consent” in the Swope Health portal before the visit can start. Your calls are always private.

The next step is similar to the routine at an in-person visit. We’ll ask about your health history and ask about any vital signs that you are able to provide (like weight, temperature or blood pressure). Your provider or the assistant will also ask what medications you are taking.

Asking about your health.

Next, your provider will want to hear from you about your health and any concerns you have. You and the provider discuss options to improve your health, and this may include prescriptions, follow-up appointments, changes to your diet, or other guidance.

Telemedicine calls are in use for a variety of appointments across Swope Health – adult medicine, pediatrics, Ob-Gyn, psychiatry, case management and therapy, for example.

Can you hear me now?

As with anything new, sometimes glitches may occur, like a dropped call.

If that happens, we reconnect with you using whichever method you chose for the appointment. If that doesn’t work, we try reaching you with a phone call. Our Swope Health staff will keep trying to connect with you later.

Your record.

Just like at an in-person visit, you receive a record of your visit. Your After-Visit Summary, which includes details of the visit, medication instructions and follow-up actions, will be available for you on the Swope Health Patient Portal. If you need help getting set up or forgot your password, call 816-923-5800.

We want to stay in touch with you! If you have any questions, please call us: 816-923-5800.

Consent to Telehealth:

How-to Guides:

Limited Testing for COVID-19

Swope Health has started limited testing for COVID-19 at its Central facility, and soon, at its Wyandotte clinic. Here is information about the testing process at Swope Health:

Who can be tested?

At this point we are testing only those individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19 and meet screening criteria, and who have a testing order from a Swope Health provider. We are following the CDC guidance on testing.

Do I need an appointment?

Yes, an appointment is required. But this does not have to be in person. A provider can evaluate you over the phone and determine if you meet criteria.

What do I need to bring with me?

Please bring a photo ID with you, along with proof of address.

Where do I go?

Our testing will be performed outside the C Building at Swope Health Central. We have signs indicating where to park or meet with our clinical testing team.

What happens in the test?

The first step in the test is collecting a sample. This involves placing a sterile swab, like a long Q-tip, at the back of your nasal passage for several seconds. It’s a little bit uncomfortable but you can still breathe and talk. After a sample is collected, the swab goes into a liquid-filled tube for transport to the testing lab.

How long does it take?

The collection itself takes several seconds. The entire encounter, including check in and completing paperwork, may take as long as 30 minutes.

When will I know the results?

We expect to learn results in three to eight days. It all depends on the volume and capacity of the testing labs.

How will I learn the results?

Swope Health will contact you as soon as we receive your results. It’s important that we have your phone number to reach you.

What happens if I am positive?

Swope Health will contact you and talk with you about your specific situation. Most people who catch the virus can stay home and recover on their own with plenty of liquids and rest. See If You Are Sick from the CDC. We will also notify the Health Department.

If I am positive, what happens to my family and household?

Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 are encouraged to isolate as much as possible from other people. If you have a positive result, you will have to continue the isolation. We will recommend that your family members monitor themselves for symptoms.

What happens if I am negative?

If you are negative, you probably were not infected at the time your specimen was collected. But, a negative test result does not rule out getting sick later.

What happens if I am negative but still feel bad – can I be retested?

It is possible that you were very early in your infection at the time of your specimen collection. If your symptoms worsen, you should contact your provider, who will determine if you meet criteria for another test.

What if I don’t have insurance?

We provide testing regardless of if you have insurance or not.

What if I am not a Swope Health patient?

We are not able to provide testing to new patients at this time.

Will Swope Health offer testing into Wyandotte?

Yes. Wyandotte has established a separate clinic on the first floor of its building. Patients who meet criteria will be tested.

What if I live outside the area?

Swope Health can test established patients if they have an order from one of our providers.

Where do we send our patients who test positive?

Most patients with COVID-19 can be cared for at home. We provide education to help patients manage their symptoms and reduce the spread to others. All patients are educated about warning signs that indicate they should go to the Emergency Room.

Is Swope Health required to report all results to the city?

Yes.

Is Swope Health testing members of the homeless community?

Yes, if they meet our criteria.

Stay Healthy! Here’s How You Can Stay In Touch with Swope Health

Swope Health : COVID-19 Lobby Screening

Swope Health associates greet and screen all patients arriving at the facility. Hand sanitizer and wipes are offered to everyone.

As you know, all of Kansas City is expected to keep a six-foot distance from others to prevent the spread of COVID-19. At Swope Health, you’ll find we are using new ways to stay in touch with you, taking the place of in-person healthcare visits.

If you have a regularly scheduled appointment, like a well-exam or routine check-in, you will likely receive a phone call offering to reschedule or make an appointment for a phone or video visit. If you are healthy, there’s no reason for you to visit Swope Health.

Swope Health can offer telephone visits where the patient can have a brief conversation with a provider to determine if the patient needs to be seen in the clinic or if the provider can treat them over the phone. This can be done for many health issues, but not all.  Patients can call 816-923-5800 and ask to schedule a phone visit with a provider.

Dr. Jennifer Frost

Dr. Jennifer Frost

“We’re doing this for the safety of our patients and the community,” said Dr. Jennifer Frost, Swope Health interim Chief Medical Officer. “We’re doing this to save lives.”

Scheduling a Phone or Video Visit

If you are interested in scheduling a phone or video visit, call us at 816-923-5800. Your case managers, medical providers, therapists and psychiatric staff are all offering phone visits, and in some cases, with appropriate technology, video visits. If you are interested in video visits, you’ll need to use the Swope Health Patient Portal. If you need help getting set up or forgot your password, call 816-923-5800.

Swope Health Patient PortalDownload the Swope Health patient portal app

If you come to Swope Health, you will see some changes:

  • Everyone entering the building will be screened. Only patients are permitted to enter, and only if they have a scheduled appointment. Walk-ins are taken on a case-by-case basis.
  • Anyone exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 will be put in a separate area, to prevent infecting others.
  • The building is under continuous cleaning. You’ll find hand sanitizer available throughout the building.
  • We are still scheduling clinic visits when it is medically necessary and safe for both patients and clinic staff.

Have questions? Call us at 816-923-5800 rather than dropping by. We have nurses and providers available to help answer medical questions and offer guidance on the best way to get the care you need about staying healthy and preventing the spread of the Coronavirus.