CDC Ebola checklist outlines IP role

Now is the time to prepare’

In an urgent addition to the Ebola situation, federal public health officials have issued a checklist for hospitals to prepare for incoming cases from the expanding outbreak in West Africa. The six-page detailed checklist issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response is available at: http://1.usa.gov/1qjDiC9

"Every hospital should ensure that it can detect a patient with Ebola, protect healthcare workers so they can safely care for the patient, and respond in a coordinated fashion," the agencies advised. "...Now is the time to prepare, as it is possible that individuals with Ebola in West Africa may travel to the United States."

The checklist highlights key areas for hospital staff — especially hospital emergency managers, infection preventionists and clinicians -- to review in preparation for an incoming case of Ebola. In particular infection preventionists should:

  • Ensure appropriate infection control procedures are being followed, including for lab, food, environmental services, and other personnel.
  • Maintain updated case definitions, management, surveillance and reporting recommendations.
  • Properly train healthcare personnel in personal protection, isolation procedures, care of
  • Ebola patients.
  • Ensure that administrators are familiar with responsibilities during a public health emergency.

The checklist advises hospitals to maintain situational awareness of reported Ebola case locations, travel restrictions and public health advisories, and update triage guidelines accordingly. Review Emergency Department (ED) triage procedures, including patient placement, and develop or adopt screening criteria (e.g. relevant questions: exposure to case, travel within 21 days from affected West African country) for use by healthcare personnel in the ED to ask patients during the triage process for patients arriving with compatible illnesses.

Post screening criteria in conspicuous placements at ED triage stations, clinics, and other acute care locations. Treat all symptomatic travelers returning from affected West African countries as potential cases and obtain additional history. Remember: Ebola is a nationally notifiable disease and must be reported to local, state, and federal public health authorities.

Ensure that all triage staff, nursing leadership, and clinical leaders are familiar with the protocols and procedures for notifying the designated points of contacts to inform hospital leadership, infection prevention and control, infectious disease, administration, laboratory, and others as applicable.