LewisGale Regional Health System hospitals are following the standard precautions advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC and science tell us the proper use of these precautions for treating patients with infectious disease are effective for protecting others from the spread of Ebola from an infected person.
The standard precautions include:
• Isolation of patients with Ebola from contact with unprotected persons
• Wearing of protective clothing (gloves, masks, impermeable gowns, and goggles or face shields) by persons caring for Ebola patients
• The use of other infection-control measures (such as complete equipment sterilization and routine use of disinfectant)
Additional precautions LewisGale is taking:
• In addition to the CDC guidelines, LewisGale hospitals are going above and beyond by using the same precautions we use in the treatment of airborne illnesses, such as TB.
• Expanded screening tool used at registration to determine in the past 21 days has the patient:
• Resided in or traveled to a West African country
• Had contact with anyone who has been to a West African country
• Been in contact with blood or body fluids of person known or suspected to have Ebola
• Isolation precautions for patients who exhibit symptoms by placing them in negative airflow rooms
• Cough and sneeze stations in public areas (tissues, masks and hand sanitizer)
• Use of personal protective equipment by caregivers including protect respirator masks such as N95, which filter out smaller particles
• Rigorous use of effective disinfection practices for room cleaning, equipment, supplies and other material used in providing care for the patient
• Internal communications among caregivers to limit potential exposure
• Immediate reporting to our local health department
In addition to these precautions, the following training has already taken place or is in the process of being implemented at our hospitals:
• E-learning course on Ebola and the proper use of Personal Protective Equipment available for all staff and required for direct patient care providers in Emergency Departments, ICU’s and Medical Surgical patient care areas
• Skill checklists developed to assess competency of healthcare workers on Personal Protective Equipment
• Educational posters added to all staff waiting areas
• Ebola table top exercises being conducted at each hospital to identify any operational gaps and ensure key elements are in place and functional
• Communication with local EMS agencies on early notification from the scene if transporting a suspected case to the hospital
• Working with other local institutions including Virginia Tech on proper protocols.