A well-child exam during the COVID-19 pandemic: 'It was great'


When Cara Gorely’s son, Dillon, was due to visit his pediatrician for his 15-month well-child exam and vaccinations, she didn’t hesitate to bring him in.

"I want to do everything I can to keep him healthy, especially right now," says Gorely, a manager in high tech who lives in Woodland Hills. "Even with concerns about coronavirus, bringing him to the doctor's office, where he can be examined and I can ask my questions, gives me the assurance that I need."

Dillon's pediatrician, Clara Lin, MD, who works in the UCLA Health Woodland Hills primary care office and sees patients of all ages, was delighted to see them. "The past few months have been hard on everyone," she says, “but UCLA Health has been steadfast in its efforts to ensure that all patients are safe when they seek medical care, whether they are coming in for a regular follow-up exam, to receive treatment for a chronic illness, or because they are sick.”

And staying up-to-date on vaccinations – including those for measles, flu, whooping cough and shingles – is especially important to ensure the community is protected from other potential infectious outbreaks.

Gorely, who is also a patient of Dr. Lin’s, was reassured to learn that all patients receive a pre-appointment screening call to see if they are experiencing symptoms that may be related to COVID-19 or recently had a positive diagnostic test. Any patient who screens positive for COVID-19 symptoms or exposure is first evaluated in a video visit, rather than an in-person appointment. If necessary, patients are sent directly to one of UCLA Health’s designated diagnostic testing sites, where results are returned within about a day.

In addition to this pre-screening, all of UCLA Health’s medical clinics and hospitals have rigorous infection prevention policies in place, including a temperature check and symptom monitoring before entering any location, universal masking, physical distancing in all shared spaces, and enhanced disinfection and sterilization practices in exam rooms and on all high-touch surfaces.

"I checked Dillon in electronically before we arrived at the clinic, and we waited in our car — not in a waiting room — until an exam room was available,” Gorely says. “We also had our temperatures taken and were asked screening questions before being taken directly to the exam room."

Once there, Dr. Lin examined Dillon and Gorely asked about the baby's teething pain and sleep schedule. Then the doctor asked Mom how the family had been managing the ups and downs of parenting a toddler during stay-at-home orders.

"We have strong relationships with our patients and families," says Dr. Lin. "Since some of our patients are leaving their home only for doctor’s appointments, it’s especially important to use this time to reconnect and reassure them.”

Gorely says she appreciated Dr. Lin’s concern and attentiveness during their appointment. “Dillon gained a pound since his last visit, and Dr. Lin assured me that he’ll sleep better when his gums don’t hurt,” she says. “It was great.”