Five things parents should know about health care at Stanford

Ira2Dr. Ira Friedman, director of Vaden Health Center, shares information he hopes all parents know about health care services at Stanford.

What happens when a Stanford student living in the residences gets ill? Who knows and what services does the university provide?

The residential staff – including peer health educators and residence assistants – keep tabs on who is ill. Clusters of illness are rapidly reported to me for possible environmental intervention. Information about self-care and hygiene and prevention is distributed. Students who are bedridden can have their meal trays delivered by dining services by contacting their Residence Dean.

How does Stanford deal with infectious illnesses such as the flu?

Early warning and prevention education are the keys across the board. We keep very careful tabs on whether illnesses are appearing in clusters. In terms of the flu, we have a very active free flu shot program for faculty, staff and students in October. We hope parents will help us encourage their children to get vaccinated before they leave campus for Thanksgiving.

Does the university consider the impact of worldwide issues such as pandemics on the Stanford campus?

Absolutely. The university attracts a global student body, and our faculty, staff and students frequently travel for work, study and play. This past summer, for instance, we convened our Infection Control Working Group to monitor the outbreak of Ebola and establish protocols for members of the Stanford community, including individuals who have traveled recently to West African countries.

What are the advantages of Stanford’s Cardinal Care?

Stanford’s Cardinal Care is a top-rung “platinum” plan, meaning it is very comprehensive in its coverage of medical expenses. In addition, the Cardinal Care provider network is strong locally (including the Stanford University Medical Center) and throughout the United States. It is particularly good at covering our students who are studying, doing research and traveling overseas.

What can parents do to help their children stay healthy at Stanford?

Parents can advise their children to get vaccinated for the flu, to eat a healthy diet, get plenty of rest and exercise. Our experience is that students fail to sleep as much as needed or eat the healthy meals they enjoyed at home, making them more susceptible to illness. We ask parents to encourage students to stay in bed when they are ill and rest. Isolating students is one of our biggest challenges because they are so motivated. If students opt to attend classes although they are sick, it may prolong their illness and infect others.

For more information about health care at Stanford, visit the website of the Vaden Health Center.