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As families who have children with special needs, we are probably more prepared than many for these unpredictable times and social isolation. We know what it’s like to have a child home from school, how to stop the spread of germs and how to care for a child who’s ill.

We realize you might be overwhelmed with all the information about COVID-19, so we are providing some suggestions for what you can do now to be prepared.1

Fill out an Emergency Plan for Your Child

An emergency plan is vital if your child becomes ill, and you can complete these forms from the American College of Emergency Physicians while you’re at home. These forms ask you to list all of your child’s providers, medications and dates of surgeries or other procedures in one place. When you’re done, be sure to make a hardcopy and also scan it so it’s available on your phone or other mobile devices.

Include Caregiving in Your Care Plan

What if you or your other caregivers get sick or are under a quarantine? Someone else may need to step in and care for your child. A care plan moves beyond an emergency plan to give these substitute caregivers all the information they need to step into your shoes. There are several options, two of which are below:

A care plan should include all aspects of how to care for your child. Include things like medications and times given, daily routines, a list of your child’s providers, and upcoming appointments. You can also include details about your child’s likes, dislikes, friend’s names, and favorite activities.

Next, identify who might be able to step in to help. This is a time to call close friends or talk with teenage siblings or trusted relatives. Then, over the next few weeks train one other person on how to care for your child by using your emergency plan and care plan.

Supplies, Medications and a Pharmacy Plan

Does your child need special food, incontinence or wound care supplies? It’s a good idea to have two-to-three week’s worth of these supplies in your home at all times. Make a list of all of these items and calculate how many you would need if you couldn’t leave the house for a few weeks. Then connect with these suppliers right away to make sure you have what you will need.

Make sure that none of your child’s prescriptions are about to run out of refills or expire. Also, think about switching to three-month refills. In addition, make a plan in case you are unable to get to the pharmacy. Finally, think about signing up for mail-order delivery or asking a family member or friend for help.

Take Care of Yourself and Stay Connected

Get enough sleep. Try to stay physically active, eat well and find ways to care for your own mental health. Also, try to stay in touch with friends and family. A phone call or a virtual get-together with friends can relieve stress and help you realize we will all get through this and life will get back to normal! 

To learn more about care plans, see our online training Coordinating Your Child’s Healthcare at familyvoiceswi.org/learn.


1Many of these suggestions come from Complex Child Magazine, complexchild.org/articles/covid/covid-preparations










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