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Gary Evans writes Hospital Infection Control & Prevention (HIC), Hospital Employee Health (HEH) and contributes to IRB Advisor (IRB). As senior writer at AHC, Evans has written numerous articles on infectious disease threats to both patients and health care workers, including pandemic influenza, MERS and Ebola. He has been honored for excellence in analytical reporting five times by the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
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 was 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.
“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.