Coronavirus: Ensuring patient and staff safety during the pandemic

Front desk of Boston Children's Hospital during COVID-19 outbreak
Our front desk staff are on duty to assist patients and families during the COVID-19 outbreak. (Photos: Joseph Piselli/Boston Children's)

As the coronavirus and COVID-19 infection continues to spread through the Boston area, we’ve heard many questions and concerns from patients and their families about safety at Boston Children’s Hospital. We thought it might be helpful to answer the most commonly asked questions here. If you’d like more information about Boston Children’s response to COVID-19, please visit our COVID-19 page.

Has Boston Children’s started doing more cleaning of public areas and patient rooms?

Patient and family safety have always been a priority at Boston Children’s, and proper cleaning is just one piece of that equation. At the start of the coronavirus outbreak, we reassessed current cleaning practices and determined that they are in line with recommended protocols. Therefore, it was not necessary to add additional cleaning standards at this time. We will continue to review new science, recommendations, and emerging national standards related to cleaning.

What is Boston Children’s doing to screen patients, visitors, and employees?

We are screening all staff, patients, family members, and visitors who enter the hospital. Further, all employees who are not essential to hands-on patient care are complying with Governor Baker’s stay-at-home advisory to reduce the number of people coming and going from the hospital.

Have you changed the visitation policy in response to the outbreak?

Yes. Until further notice, only two adult caregivers may visit or accompany a patient at one time.

For their own safety, visitors under the age of 18 — including siblings — may not visit. This includes visiting patients who are staying in the hospital, as well as accompanying a patient to an appointment at any of our locations, or seeking care in our Emergency Department.

Are there any new steps in food service to ensure patient safety?

Boston Children’s food service has always adhered to strict safety procedures. But in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, some additional safety adjustments have been put into place. A few include:

  • the cafeteria has converted all services to “Grab and Go,” and there is no longer seating in the cafeteria
  • we have increased hospital-grade disinfecting throughout the food service area
  • bottles of hand sanitizer have been placed at food service stations for guests
  • new gravity-fed utensil dispensers were installed that don’t require touch
  • line dividers were added in checkout to indicate appropriate space to stand between guests
  • we have instituted badge access to the cafeteria, allowing only Boston Children’s families and staff to enter
Image of a nurse wearing a face mask checking a parent's credentials at Boston Children's during the COVID-19 outbreak
Boston Children’s is taking extra precautions to screen all visitors during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Have there been any changes to help ensure patient safety in other public areas?

Yes, Boston Children’s has taken several steps to help limit the number of individuals in the hospital and reduce the number of patients gathering in public spaces. These include:

  • cancelling the volunteer program, including the Pawprints program for the near future
  • asking any associated personnel who are not involved in hospital operations to not come into the hospital
  • closing Child Life rooms and resource rooms

Learn more about Boston Children’s response to COVID-19.

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