5 tips for parents of children diagnosed with Congenital Heart Defects during COVID-19
June 9, 2020 | Contributed by Monisa N.
Babies are little, delicate bundles of joy who require utmost care and affection. More so, when a child is born with a Congenital Heart Defect (CHD). CHD can be a simple defect in the heart or complex in nature. With advanced medical technology, treatment for congenital heart defects is widely available in most Indian metropolitan cities.
But during such unprecedented times of COVID-19, just like every society and country is facing challenges, so is the CHD community in India. Here are 5 tips for parents whose children have been diagnosed with CHD during this time of coronavirus crisis.
- Do Not Panic
Most often parents feel anxious and worried if their child is diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. But timely medical intervention can help the child in leading a near-normal life. Depending on the complexity of the defect, one or multiple surgeries might be suggested. Many kids who have had CHD surgeries are into athletics and sports as well. It’s important that you place your faith in the doctor’s consultation analysis and surgical treatments.
- Get Counselling
Parents have absolutely no control over the child’s development of a congenital heart defect. In many parts of India, due to lack of awareness, often women are blamed for the sick condition of a child. Medically, CHD results from problems early in the child’s heart development, the cause of which is still unknown. If you are a parent whose child has been diagnosed with CHD during Coronavirus, adhere to the doctor’s advice for isolation or surgeries.
- Refer to CHD Specialists
It is crucial that once a child has been diagnosed with any heart problems, a specialist is consulted. For children with CHD, paediatric cardiologists work with patients antenatally (before birth), through childhood and into adulthood. Only then, the correct treatment plan can be executed by the doctor in-charge and parents should follow the guidelines. Parents also need to improve their awareness about their child’s heart condition once diagnosed.
Genesis Foundation supports treatment for congenital heart defects
- Practice WHO COVID-19 Guidelines
Irrespective of whether a child has been diagnosed with CHD or not, there are certain guidelines laid out by the World Health Organization that should be followed. These include regular washing of hands for the mother taking care of the child, hand-washing before breastfeeding and after, family wearing masks around the child, regular disinfection of all the surfaces near the baby, avoiding crowded public spaces, reduced interaction of the family with the baby except the primary caretaker or mother etc.
Genesis Foundation supports families with surgical aid for CHD.
- Stay Motivated
Once the child has been diagnosed with CHD, it’s imperative that the parents must remain positive and follow the proper treatment including parental love and care. Talking, playing and cuddling with a baby diagnosed with CHD is as important as any other baby. Parents can seek help from various sources such as the doctor, hospital, social workers or counselors to know more about the respite programs or home care services that are in place during the treatment for congenital heart defects.
Acknowledgement: We would like to thank Dr R Vijay Kumar for providing these useful tips for parents.