PLEASE NOTE – Alder Hey does not offer a COVID-19 testing service. Only patients admitted to Alder Hey will be tested. Click here for more information.
Below are answers to some of our most frequently asked questions. This page will be updated regularly as the situation changes.
You may find the below video useful in the first instance, if you’re struggling to explain the coronavirus to your children.
What can I and can’t I do during the lockdown?
You can find all of the information relating to what you can and cannot do during the government-impsoed lockdown on their website here.
What are the symptoms of covid-19 (coronavirus) and when should I avoid Alder Hey?
Symptoms to look out for are:
- a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back or a thermometer reads 37.8ºC or higher
- a new, continuous cough – this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly
- loss of / change in smell or taste
If you have any of those symptoms you should:
- self-isolate as per current NHS guidance, until it has been at least 7 days since the symptoms started (or your test was positive), you are feeling better and you no longer have a temperature. A persistent cough alone does not mean you must continue to self-isolate for more than 7 days
- not visit the hospital until your self-isolation has finished.
If anyone in your household has these symptoms, then you should:
- self-isolate as per current NHS guidance for 14 days, Your 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.
Will I be tested for COVID-19 at Alder Hey?
In line with RCPCH guidance (which you can read here), all patients being admitted to Alder Hey for elective surgery or admissions will have a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of admission. Any patient still in hospital after 5 days will be re-tested. More information on this can be found at https://alderhey.nhs.uk/covid-19-testing-process
What are visiting arrangements at Alder Hey?
In order to protect patients, staff and the public we have introduced new visiting arrangements. We want to maintain contact and support between patients and their families and carers, whilst ensuring that we take measures that prevent the spread of the infection. These measures reduce the possibility of the virus inadvertently being brought into the hospital and help to keep vulnerable children safe.
Our visiting rules
- Only 1 parent or carer at any one time may visit or stay with a child. This applies across the hospital, including the Emergency Department, inpatient wards, outpatients and our paediatric intensive care and high dependency units (PICU, PHDU)
- Brothers, sisters and other children are not allowed to visit the hospital
- Unwell visitors or those with possible symptoms of COVID-19 (see below) must not attend the hospital
- 14 day isolation – well adults or carers who should be undertaking 14 day isolation because of an unwell family member at home should not normally attend the hospital
- Rarely, exceptions may be made to the above but only by explicit agreement by the ward manager and the infection control team in advance. In these cases, you are likely to need to agree to strict rules and restrictions while on site
We want to continue to ensure we keep our patients, visitors and staff safe, so please do not attend Alder Hey if you have:
- a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back, or a thermometer reads 37.8ºC or higher
- a new, continuous cough – this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly
- loss of/ change in smell or taste
We also ask that, before visiting, you check Public Health England’s list of conditions (here) that may increase the risk of severe infection if you were to acquire COVID-19. If you or another visitor fall into this group of vulnerable people you are advised not to visit the hospital but to stay at home.
How do I keep myself or my family and friends safe?
There are a number of actions you can take including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
- Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
Do we have guidelines for children with underlying health issues but not showing signs of any of the symptoms ?
If someone in the household is unwell with possible coronavirus symptoms, please follow the NHS guidelines regarding self-isolation.
If everyone in the household is well, the government advises adherence to social distancing measures more stringently, depending on the health condition.
As a parent, I am concerned as to whether it is safe to come in for my clinic appointments and if I can cancel
Unless you are told otherwise please attend your clinic appointment. However, if you have a new continuous cough in the last 7 days, loss of / change in smell or taste or fever in the last 2 days, you should not attend, but need to self-isolate.
We are unable to get through to the 111 help line for advice, or haven’t received a call back – can you help?
The NHS 111 have a website which you can use to find help and advice: go to 111.nhs.uk.
Are there any restrictions at the hospital?
Yes, see question about visiting arrangements.
Can you just come in if your child has symptoms of coronavirus?
No, if you have a new continuous cough in the last 7 days, loss of / change in smell or taste or fever in the last 2 days, you should not attend, but need to self-isolate.
My child has a compromised immune system what precautions do I need to take when visiting the hospital ?
Before your visit, please call 0151 228 4811 and contact your department. We will try to minimise contact with others while attending.
My child has complex needs who would I contact if I needed help urgently with regards to the coronavirus ?
Go to the NHS 111 website.
What if my child has CHD?
You can check the latest advice for children with Congenital Heart Disease, and other cardiac conditions, by clicking here.
How are CAMHS services affected?
Click the below links to find out more about each service:
- EDYS – information for service users
- Sefton CAMHS – information for service users
- Liverpool Fresh CAMHS – information for service users
How will Walk In Centres be affected?
Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, which operates the four Liverpool NHS walk in centres, has announced changes to how it will operate during the coronavirus outbreak.
Following guidance from NHS England and Public Health England, to support and maintain the safe and effective delivery of care for our patients and staff, the Liverpool NHS walk-in centres will move to a telephone triage and appointment system effective from 25 March 2020.
Patients will be clinically triaged over the phone based on clinical need and will be allocated immediate appointments at an appropriate walk in centre.
Trish Bennett, Executive Director of Nursing and Operations at Mersey Care, explained: “These important changes to how we operate are critical to help us support our patients and staff at this challenging time.”
“I am urging members of the public to listen and follow the government’s advice, if you think you may have coronavirus symptoms: please do not visit a walk-in centre, GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Simply stay at home and contact NHS 111 online.”
The city walk-in centre based at the Beat, 6 David Lewis St, Liverpool, L1 4AF, will be temporarily closed but walk in centres will remain operational from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week at the following three sites:
- Old Swan walk-in Centre, Crystal Close, L13
- Garston walk-in centre, at South Liverpool Treatment Centre, Church Road, L19
- Smithdown children’s Walk- in centre, Smithdown Road, L15 (under 15 years of age)
Patients will be advised to call: 0300 100 1004 and will be screened for potential symptoms of COVID-19. Those who only have COVID-19 symptoms will be directed to NHS 111 – if you have COVID-19 symptoms and still require walk in centre treatment (e.g. for minor injury), you will still be triaged and seen.
Patients with no symptoms will be transferred to a clinician for telephone triage and will be provided with a defined appointment time for further assessment and treatment at the most appropriate walk in centre.
Further information can also be found here: https://www.merseycare.nhs.uk/our-services/physical-health-services/walk-in-centres/
Alternatively you can follow the service on Twitter @Mersey_Care
Will car parking charges still apply?
As of September 2020, parking charges are back in force across the Alder Hey campus, for more information on parking charges, please go to our website – https://alderhey.nhs.uk/parents-and-patients/before-you-visit/getting-to-alder-hey
How long will it last?
No one truly knows the answer to this question. Researchers and scientists are working hard to find a vaccine for the virus. By practising the measures put in place by the government, such as good handwashing and social distancing, we can help reduce the length of disruption to our lives.
How did it begin?
On December 31, 2019, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) China office heard the first reports of a previously-unknown virus behind a number of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, a city in Eastern China with a population of over 11 million.
What started as an epidemic mainly limited to China has now become a truly global pandemic.
Does it affect young people the same as adults? Should I be scared?
Illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. However, it can cause serious illness: about 1 in every 5 people who catch it need hospital care. It is therefore quite normal for people to worry about how the COVID-19 outbreak will affect them and their loved ones.
We can channel our concerns into actions to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities. First and foremost among these actions is regular and thorough hand-washing and good hygiene. Secondly, keep informed and follow the advice of the local health authorities including any restrictions put in place on travel, movement and gatherings.
The World Health Organisation advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus.
How has it spread so fast?
People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick. This virus is particularly contagious, especially as there is no vaccine as of yet.
What type of things do I need to stop doing for a while?
The virus will have a big impact on our daily lives for the next coming weeks or even months. To keep yourself and everyone around you safe, we need to reduce our day to day contact with other people so social gatherings with friends and family will have to stop , as will going to school or college, going outside of your house or garden except for anything absolutely necessary, and any sports or classes you attend outside of school such as football or dance etc. Cinemas, most shops and other social outlets will also be closed. Please remember this is to keep you safe and won’t be forever. You can keep in touch with your friends and extended family online.
Why can’t we be with our grandparents?
Older people are more likely to develop serious illness from the virus. To keep them safe, they need to stay at home away from anyone or anywhere they could catch the infection. This is the best way to beat the virus at the moment. Again this will not be forever and you should try and stay in touch with them as much as possible either online or on the telephone.
What is the best way we can protect ourselves/tips to stay safe/stop myself getting it?
The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.
When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. That is why the government is now introducing three new ways to help us do this…
- Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes
- Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
- Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public
Everyone must comply with these new measures. You should only leave the house for one of four reasons:
- Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
- One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household.
- Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
- Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.
These four reasons are exceptions – even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.
In addition to reducing your contact with other people, there are things you can do to help stop germs like coronavirus spreading:
- always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel
- wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds each time with soap and water or hand sanitiser, especially when you:
- get home or into work
- blow your nose, sneeze or cough
- eat or handle food
- avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- avoid close contact with people who are unwell
What support is in place for Families who are high risk?
Shielding is a practice used to protect extremely vulnerable people from coming into contact with coronavirus.
At risk families have been sent a latter advising them to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks from the day they receive their letter.Please note that this period of time could change. Provisions have been made for visits from people who provide essential support to them, such as healthcare and personal support, to continue. A helpline has also been put in place for families worried about the care of their child at Alder Hey.
What do I do if I need to speak to someone/my medical team?
If you have any questions or concerns relating to your care at Alder Hey and your appointment has been postponed, please contact our hotline Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm and weekends 9am to 3pm.
Telephone number: 0151 282 4907
Email address: email@example.com
How will cancelling my appointment impact waiting lists?
Clinical teams are currently working through the waiting list of patients who have been cancelled due to COVID. All patients are being reviewed clinically to ensure we prioritise those patients who are clinically urgent however we continue to work through the waiting list with Clinical teams to ensure we can see all our patients. If you are concerned, please contact our hotline:
Telephone number: 0151 282 4907
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Will people I know die?
While we are still learning about how COVID-2019 affects people, older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes) appear to develop serious illness more often than others but please remember, most people do recover from the virus. Practising the government guidelines on hand washing and social distancing is the best way to keep everyone safe.