Meadowlands Hospital Prepared to Care for Ebola Patients
Secaucus, October 22, 2014 - As travel continues between West Africa and the rest of the world, the possibility increases that more individuals exposed to Ebola will seek care at hospital emergency departments. It is also possible that more medical and other volunteers caring for Ebola patients will contract the disease and need treatment in U.S. hospitals.
Meadowlands Hospital has been gearing up for weeks as we watched Ebola spread in West Africa. Despite that New Jersey has no known cases of Ebola at this time, we are on the high alert to watch for a potential cases that could come to our facility and to take immediate actions to isolate those individuals and implement full precautions to protect our staff and our community.
Meadowlands Hospital has reviewed all appropriate policies and protocols; identified areas in the hospital that would be used for patient isolation; inventoried supplies including personal protective equipment for employees; and provided training and best practices to staff on patient identification, isolation, infection prevention and use of protective suits.
We are closely monitoring the situation around Ebola and have been in contact with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the state’s public health officials since the virus arrived in our country, and we appreciate that access and collaboration. These special institutions have been anticipating and preparing for Ebola in the U.S. They aim to increase understanding of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) and encourage widespread preparation for managing EVD patients.
For official EVD information, visit:
• CDC’s Ebola website – http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/index.html
• New Jersey Department of Public Health’sEbola Virus information page –http://www.state.nj.us/health/cd/vhf/
The CDC is tightening previous infection control guidance for healthcare workers caring for patients with Ebola, to ensure there is no ambiguity.The guidance focuses on specific Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) health care workers should use and offers detailed step-by-step instructions for how to put the equipment on and take it off safely. We are relieved to hear the recent news from CDC about healthcare workers not contracting the disease at other facilities where PPE covers the entire body.Recent experience from safely treating patients with Ebola at Emory University Hospital, Nebraska Medical Center and National Institutes of Health Clinical Center are reflected in the guidance.
The enhanced guidance is centered on three principles:
• All healthcare workers undergo rigorous training and are practiced and competent with PPE, including taking it on and off in a systemic manner
• No skin exposure when PPE is worn
• All workers are supervised by a trained monitor who watches each worker taking PPE on and off
All patients treated at Emory University Hospital, Nebraska Medical Center and the NIH Clinical Center have followed the three principles. None of the workers at these facilities have contracted the illness.
This Ebola situation is changing every day, but each new development helps us improve its preparedness. Meadowlands Hospital is ready to care for individuals with this virus. For more information, please call our Infection Control specialist at 201-392-3223.