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Pediatricians get creative with child-care appointments

At Every Child Pediatrics, well-visits are done during the morning and sick children are seen in the afternoon so the office can be cleaned in between.

DENVER — When Colorado Gov. Jared Polis asked people to stay home, Every Child Pediatrics shifted a few things around.

Fifty percent of its staff was in the office and the other 50% went to telemedicine. 

Nurse practitioner Denise Forrest said she has seen fewer kids since the move online, but that they're slowly ramping back up. 

While there are positives to the virtual appointments, there are also some challenges.

"You can see a family at home, look at a child and tell if they're running around the room and eating and playing, they're really not that sick," she said.

On the flip-side, "we obviously cannot listen to lungs, and hearts and feel tummies," Forrest added. 

They're teaching parents how to do that themselves and if something doesn't look right, they ask parents to come in for a physical appointment. 

Forrest said sometimes parents are reluctant to do that. 

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"They're worried to bring their kids into the office because they don't want their children to get exposed to things," she said. "That being said, I still think it's really important they come in and get their immunizations."

Colorado already has some of the lowest rates of immunizations among children according to the state's health department. 

"A lot of us are wondering what we're going to be seeing a year from now when more kids are not immunized, and we don't have the same immunity that we had previously," she said. 

They're doing everything they can to make parents feel comfortable, like splitting up the patients. In the morning, they do the well-visits and in the afternoon they see sick children so they can clean in between.

Forrest said the quarantine has created a big misconception for older kids, that they don't need to be seen because they don't need a sports physical. She said that's not true, it's very important they're seen, too.

They're going through a lot with their social lives being turned upside-down, so they need the mental support as well, Forrest said.

Every Child Pediatrics has several locations in the Denver metro area. 

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