In light of the recent healthcare workers being exposed to the Ebola Virus Disease after caring for a patient in a Texas hospital, Faith Regional’s Emergency Operation Planning Committee began addressing the need for an Ebola Preparedness Plan to be put in place at the hospital. The Centers for Disease Control, along with the American Hospital Association and Nebraska Hospital Association, have recommended that all hospitals in the U.S. be prepared to take care of a patient that may have symptoms directly related to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
“I have made this a top priority at Faith Regional so that we will be ready should the situation present itself,” stated Mark Klosterman, President and CEO of Faith Regional Health Services. “A Task Force has been created to develop the plan and assignments for each area of the hospital that might be affected. It is vital that all of our healthcare providers have the proper training on how to care for the patient, understand what personal protective equipment is necessary and have protocols in place to remain safe.”
Serving on the task force are representatives from various areas of the hospital, including administration, medical staff, infection control, nursing, education, emergency department, quality, materials, clinics, IT, environmental services, nutrition, patient registration, laboratory, security, radiology and marketing. This group will be using guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The Infection Control Coordinator and other key individuals at Faith Regional are monitoring daily updates from the CDC to ensure that we have the most current information about caring for a patient with EVD.
“Our immediate concern is to address patients coming to the emergency department,” Kelly Driscoll, Sr. Vice President and Chief Operating Officer commented. “The CDC has advised that a screening tool be used should a patient come to the emergency department with a fever, vomiting and other flu-like symptoms. Our registration staff and nurses will ask those patients if they have traveled outside the U.S. specifically to Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone in Africa, or have had contact with anyone that has traveled to that area. If the answer is yes, then additional questions will be asked.” Patients and visitors will also notice signs located in the emergency and main entrance areas on West Campus that ask patients to let a healthcare worker know if they have traveled outside of the U.S.
Training for some of the staff that has been identified as having direct patient contact with an Ebola patient has begun and includes the review of isolation and personal protective equipment policies and any revisions to those policies specific to Ebola, as well as the triage of the patient, which rooms in the hospital would be used by the patient and by the team caring for the patient, and disposal of Category A waste. This training and drills will continue in the coming weeks until all employees have had a proficient level of training about Ebola specific to their jobs.
“We want to assure everyone in our community that we are taking this Ebola Preparedness very seriously and are aggressively getting our healthcare workers ready,” added Driscoll. “We have no idea how far the Ebola Virus might spread in the U.S. so being proactive is the best way to protect our medical staff, employees, patients and their families.”
For more information concerning Ebola, consult the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/.
KMTV Action 3: Smaller Nebraska hospitals training for Ebola patients.
Norfolk Daily News: Faith Regional develops Ebola preparedness plan.