Evaluating Patients for Possible Ebola Virus Disease: Recommendations for Healthcare Personnel and Health Officials
The following message is presented by the American Nurses Association.
As you may know, the current Ebola outbreak is the largest in history and is primarily affecting countries in West Africa, including Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. On Sept. 30, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the first travel-related case of the disease in the United States at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.
Given this development, we urge all nurses to review resources provided by CDC including: infectious disease guidelines and checklists to understand the disease, how it is transmitted and what precautions are necessary to protect the public and health care providers.
It is critically important that all health care team members have appropriate knowledge, education and personal protective equipment to ensure safety and effectively provide care to patients. ANA also underscores the need to practice meticulous infection control at all times.
Furthermore, the Dallas case revealed a critical flaw in the hospital’s electronic health record. This is a call to action for the entire health care team to review its processes and checklists in order to improve the flow of information and continuously improve practices that result in improved safety for everyone involved.
The key to preventing the spread of Ebola is to identify and isolate potential cases as quickly as possible. The CDC has multiple resources that provide additional information about Ebola infection control and patient management, including:
- CDC Ebola Outbreak Information
- Guidelines for infection prevention control for hospitalized patients with known or suspected Ebola in U.S. hospitals