When it comes to wide spread outbreaks or public concern for an outbreak Ebola is currently at the top of the list. With the possibility of the general public becoming infected from travel outside of the United States people will turn to healthcare providers for answers. Here are 5 key things to educate your staff on when thinking about addressing patients with Ebola.
1. What are chances of contracting Ebola- Experts such as Thomas Geisbert, professor of Microbiology and Immunology at University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston says, “The chances of contracting the virus are close to zero.” Additionally healthcare practices in Africa compared to the US are completely different. Many standard precautions such as hand hygiene practices, PPE, and education on transmission of the virus can help prevent its spread.
2. Ebola Symptoms are similar to less dangerous diagnosis such as the flu- This is important because not everyone who thinks they have Ebola will. The best thing to do is error on the side of caution and treat anyone showing sins of Fever, Headache, Chills, Vomiting should be addressed as if they could be infected. Proper PPE (personal protective equiptment) should be used at all times to prevent the spread of the virus.
3. There is no vaccine- Although experimental drugs have been expedited through trials by the FDA there is no cure or vaccine. Knowing how to use the right equipment such as breathing machines and hydration systems keep patients alive while their immune system fights off the virus.
4. US hospitals are said to be preparing - Hospitals are upping surveillance and lab testing capacity in many states however education will play a large part in being prepared. Healthcare providers need to update education efforts especially on how to protect staff and other patients from contact and transmission of the virus. Learn more at medtrainer.com.
5. How do we prevent the spread?- The spread is primarily prevented by isolation of individuals who have the virus. The most important role of practitioners and employees in healthcare is to protect themselves using Universal Precautions and always treating patients with symptoms as if they could potentially have Ebola or even another common sickness. The best practice is to act as if sick people are contagious and protect yourself.
For more information on topics such as Airborne Droplet Transmission, Personal Protective Equipment, Hand Hygiene, and Universal Precautions please visit www.medtrainer.com
Steve Gallion has been providing healthcare related compliance consulting and services to the industry for over 10 years. He has had multiple companies from IT Security Compliance and Healthcare Waste Management to Regulatory Training and Compliance. He is an expert in many areas of healthcare compliance including OSHA, HIPAA, DOT, Billing and Accreditation. You can learn more about Steve and his company at http://www.medtrainer.com