Newton Medical Center is prepared for the arrival of a suspect or confirmed case of Ebola following recommendations set forth by the Center of Disease Control & Prevention.
The hospital has the necessary assessments in place that can detect a suspicious patient with Ebola and properly isolate the patient, while providing quality care. In a coordinated effort between multiple departments, a travel assessment was implemented, ensuring that proper isolation attire is in place to care for a suspect or confirmed Ebola patient while protecting our staff, patients and members of the community.
Newton Medical Center has provided detailed steps to all staff members on how to detect at risk patients for Ebola. These steps include completing a travel history on all patients, isolating those patients that meet the criteria and then working in conjunction with the Public Health Department and the CDC to coordinate screening and testing.
According to Infection Control Nurse Jenay Beshears, RN, BSN, CIC, “I feel confident that our staff has been trained on how to properly screen, isolate and care for a suspect or actual patient with Ebola.”
A patient that has visited West Africa — Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria — or that has cared for or been exposed to an Ebola patient within the last 21 days, that presents a fever greater than 101.5, headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain, would meet criteria for further evaluation and testing as outlined by the CDC Guidelines.
“This time of year, colds and flu are circulating within our community and may have some similar signs and symptoms of Ebola. The key here is the travel history component. If there is no known potential exposure to a suspect case, you should seek care as you normally do at your doctor’s office or local clinic,” says Beshears.
According to infectious disease specialist Suji Mathew, MD, on staff at Newton Medical Center, “While Ebola does carry with it a high morbidity and mortality, we want to avoid mass hysteria or panic. An individual is not contagious unless symptomatic. Newton Medical Center is well equipped to treat and contain the infection. However, a patient also plays a critical role in initiating the necessary isolation procedures and containing the disease by promptly notifying the EMS or first triage staff, regarding potential travel history or exposure to Ebola.”
For more information on Ebola, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/symptoms/index.html.