Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our employees, physicians, patients and communities. Our Ebola Virus Response Planning Team has taken significant steps to prepare for the screening, isolation and treatment of Ebola patients, with an unwavering commitment to help ensure the safety of our nurses and other frontline staff.
Based on current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, we have policies, procedures and action plans in place at hospitals, care centers and patient call centers across our Northern California network. Our Ebola Virus Response Planning Team widely distributed and reinforced these policies and action plans for our frontline health care workers. Our work to repeatedly train and drill continues.
Our multidisciplinary team consists of infection preventionists, infectious disease specialists, and critical care, emergency department and emergency preparedness experts. The team closely monitors this rapidly evolving situation and any emerging guidelines from federal, state and local agencies, including the WHO, CDC and CDPH. Team members will continually update our policies, procedures, action plans, human resource protocols, training and drilling, as new learnings arise from other parts of the nation or world.
In addition, we are actively engaging with local, state and federal elected leaders as well as public health officers, and other health care systems to share action plans and best practices. This work continues to help ensure a coordinated community response to the Ebola virus.
Sutter Health has taken multiple steps to prepare for the Ebola virus disease. For example:
- An Ebola Virus Disease Action Plan: This plan establishes a unified framework for our organization’s preparation and response to the Ebola virus.
- An Ebola Virus Disease Emergency Operations Plan Policy and Procedure: This plan details the necessary steps to triage, admit and care for a patient known or suspected to have the Ebola virus.
- Ebola Virus Disease Screening Protocols: As a first step toward identifying the Ebola virus, our protocols call for proactively screening for fever and asking patients about their travel history and symptoms. These screening protocols are in place at entry points to our network, including emergency departments, hospital units, urgent care centers, primary care doctors’ offices and surgery centers, as well as through our home health care professionals and call center representatives.
- An Ebola Virus Disease Emergency Department Guide: It outlines specific roles and responsibilities for emergency department staff to help prevent the spread of the disease to health care workers, patients and visitors.
- Approved Ebola Virus Disease Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Register and Instructions: Clinicians must wear specific PPE at all times when caring for a patient suspected of having the Ebola virus. As of today, equipment includes gloves, gowns, shoe covers, eye protection and face masks. To help ensure the safety of our staff, we are providing training and instructions on how to properly don, doff and dispose of PPEs, using a buddy, monitor and checklist system. We will continually update our procedures and practices as new learnings arise. Our hands-on training specific to the use of PPE starts with employees most likely to care for an Ebola patient and extends to other personnel, as appropriate.
- Ebola Virus Disease Response Training: Preventing the spread of any infectious disease is ongoing in our care centers. Doctors, nurses, clinicians and staff participate in emergency drills. Across our network, we’re actively training all admitting and clinical personnel to identify and isolate a potential patient with Ebola virus. We’ve also begun more in-depth training for those most likely to provide care and treatment to a patient with Ebola virus. Depending on individual roles and responsibilities, employees receive training in the form of hands-on practice, tabletop and in-depth drills, demonstrations, online tutorials, town hall meetings, informational videos and materials, and frequent updates.