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Our facilities are in the process of getting equipped, trained, and prepared for infectious diseases so we’re ready if a patient needs us.  Whether it’s Ebola, Tuberculosis, or H1N1, we are here for our community and need to keep our patients and ourselves safe.

We’re working with facilities to make sure each facility has a plan for intake, isolation, and response.  We know that it’s unlikely that any of our facilities will have Ebola patients and that if a patient with Ebola does present, that patient will be transferred to a national center as soon as possible.

  • The Director of our Nurse Alliance, Chris Barton, RN, has sent a request to every facility to ask what their plan is to screen, train, equip, and staff in case a patient with Ebola presents.
  • We are following up with members in each facility to make sure the plans and information are adequate.

We’re spreading the word about what Ebola is and what standards Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and the CDC have for keeping us safe.

  • Only RNs and MDs care for Ebola patients.  The CDC has directed that dietary, housekeeping, and other staff should not enter an isolation room, but instead RNs and MDs should serve those functions for Ebola patients.
  • Caregivers have the right to PPE.  The CDC has updated its guidance on personal protective equipment (PPE) as of 10/20/2014 and now recommends the following principles:

o   Rigorous and repeated training on every aspect of infection control including donning and doffing PPE.

o   No skin exposure while in PPE.  This includes double-gloving with extended-cuff gloves, calf-height shoe covering, a face shield and surgical hood, respirator (N95 or PAPR), and an apron.

o   A trained monitor to observe donning and doffing of PPE and ensure infection control.

o   Disinfection prior to taking off PPE using an approved disinfectant.

  • Frontline workers need training and repeated practice.  Any healthcare worker who could encounter a patient with Ebola should be thoroughly trained and should ensure proper fit and extensive practice of PPE.  This includes ER staff and isolation staff.  Some facilities are choosing to create Ebola response teams which are trained more rigorously.
  • Know the facts about Ebola.  Ebola is only spread through direct contact of bodily fluids.  A patient is only considered a “patient under investigation” if symptoms present (101+ fever, severe headaches, diarrhea, vomiting) AND if the patient has had risk of contact within the last 21 days due to exposure to individuals with the disease.

Delegates and organizers will be working within each facility to determine how we can best protect our patients and ourselves.  Talk to your organizer if you’re concerned about your facility’s preparation.  More information is at  the SEIU Ebola site or at www.cdc.gov

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