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Time to schedule back-to-school physicals

-Submitted photo
Alex Adam, advanced registered nurse practitioner, right, stands next to Jayde Sauceda during a recent visit to UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge. Adam says it's time to schedule back-to-school physicals.

We know – it seems crazy to already be talking about back-to-school but it’s time to schedule back-to-school physicals. Here are some things we’re doing to make sure your child receives safe, in-person care.

It’s important that well-check visits and physicals be done in the clinic setting

For children and adolescents in particular, we are really focusing on growth, development and wellbeing. That includes emotional wellbeing. It is important for us to see children and adolescents in person, and to be able to identify any problems that might be going on early. And in fact, with kids, that’s often the time when we might find something. We really want to see them in the clinic.

New safety measures

We spent a lot of time at UnityPoint Clinic really working on safety and cleanliness in our clinics. We are using specific wipes that you’re supposed to use to get rid of the COVID-19 virus and taking extra time in between patients to make sure every room is clean, top to bottom. We also have all of our team members wearing personal protective equipment, which includes masks. And for those in direct patient care, it also involves eye protection such as a face shield.

COVID-19 testing

We are currently testing patients for COVID-19 who are symptomatic, regardless of age. However, if your child has symptoms that you think might be related to COVID, please call the office first then we can direct you to the best place to get that test done. COVID testing is not done as part of their routine well-child visit.

Back-to-school physicals vs. sports physicals

You can get both a back-to-school physical and sports physical done at the same time. A sports physical is typically a term used to describe an exam that is required for participation in Iowa sports at the high school and middle school level. We can complete sports physicals at a regular well-child visit. We also have some special rates for sports physicals alone if one’s insurance doesn’t cover the well-child exam.

How does care look different?

One exciting piece of technology we have is a virtual waiting room. You can actually just wait in the comfort of your car, and text us when you arrive. We will then come out to get you and take you right to your exam room. You don’t have to spend any time in our waiting room. We also have some different physical changes. If you walk through our waiting room, you’ll notice that chairs are distanced.

As mentioned above, we are paying close attention to personal protective equipment. We’re asking our patients over the age of two to wear their own masks, and if they don’t have one, we’ll provide one. It’s a great point of conversation with some of the kiddos that I’ve seen in the clinic. They’re proud to wear their mask and it’s a great opportunity for education to help make sure that they understand why they’re even wearing one.

Alex Adam is an ARNP at UnityPoint Clinic Pediatrics.

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