Dr Kam Kai-Qian, Associate Consultant, Infectious Disease Service, KKH
Our first paediatric patient with COVID-19 arrived alone, and had to be cared for in an isolation room, in line with strict infection control measures.
Due to the child’s young age, the medical team had to strike a careful balance in meeting the child’s age-appropriate physical, social and emotional needs, whilst guarding against the very real threat of infection.
This took place during the early stages of the local COVID-19 outbreak, when the transmission pattern and severity of the disease was not yet fully understood. We maintained vigilance and took every precaution to safeguard ourselves, our patients and loved ones.
Drenched in sweat under layers of personal protective equipment, we developed ways to show comfort to a little one who could not see our facial expressions well, using body language and a gentle tone of voice.
Since that first patient, the hospital has cared for multiple parent-and-child dyads in isolation at KKH, bolstering their mental resilience through specially created care kits, books, activity toys and videos by our child life therapists. Every child has different needs and emotional states, depending on their age group and experience staying in an isolation unit. However, one thing remains consistent – when they are able to be discharged home, their happiness is contagious!