As healthcare workers, we are here to care for our patients when they need us. But we need the right plan, the right training, and the right equipment to keep our patients and ourselves safe at every facility.
Four questions nurses and healthcare workers should ask our facilities about Ebola
- Is there a plan? A patient potentially infected with Ebola could walk into the ER of any hospital in the nation or through the front door of any clinic or urgent care and we need to be prepared for it. Each facility needs a plan for what they’ll do if a case presents. How will the patient be isolated? Facilities need a step-by-step plan from the front door to the isolation room including a plan for how they will staff up to give any patient the attention they need and increase the attention given to the frontline of infection protection- environmental services.
- How will we be trained? Caring for Ebola is part patient care, part self care. We need hands-on, live, and simulator training so we can practice suiting up, so that we fit our respirator masks right, and so that we keep our patients and ourselves safe. Ask your facility what the plan is to update everyone’s training- from environmental services to nutrition services to nurses.
- Do we have the right equipment? Caring for infectious diseases takes thoughtful preparation to prevent contamination. Each hospital staff person who could potentially interact with a contaminated area needs appropriate and correctly fit protective equipment including all equipment meeting CDC guidelines and needs practice suiting up and off. Does your facility have the right equipment? What’s the plan to assign and fit the equipment?
- Do we have the right staffing? Whether it’s cleaning rooms after patients leave or observing the transition in and out of protective gear, it takes extra staff to be properly prepared for infectious disease control. Hospitals need a plan to increase staffing to meet emergency needs.
We are asking each of our facilities these questions and will work with employers to get plans in place and training in motion as fast as possible.
What are you seeing and what are your concerns in your facility? Share them here.
CDC recommendations for putting on and taking off Protective Personal Equipment Note that nurses and healthcare workers should practice putting on and taking off equipment.