In a call Oct. 16 with nurses across the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced revised emergency preparedness and treatment guidelines to prevent transmissions of Ebola in the U.S., according to a news release. The changes come after two nurses from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas became infected with Ebola while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, who died from the disease on Oct. 8. However, the American Nurses Association is stating the call did not satisfy all the concerns the association has regarding ensuring safety for healthcare workers and patients.
Todays CDC call was a step in the right direction, ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, said in the release. However, while we understand this is a rapidly evolving situation, we are concerned that todays call did not fully address to our satisfaction concerns we have heard from our members.
Cipriano said nurses and other healthcare team members need clear-cut standards and guidelines in place to follow in order to ensure quality care and safety for team members and patients.
In the news release, the ANA advises that the CDC provide the following information:
Clear and specific standards for personal protective equipment at the point of patient presentation, as well as diagnosis.
Emphasis on current or revised training techniques proven to be effective for proper use of PPE.
Full disclosure of findings of events at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital that can be used to improve practices and prevent further infections.
Rapid dissemination of changes to procedures, guidelines and recommended care.
Further, ANA recommends that healthcare organizations adopt PPE standards that have been demonstrated to provide effective protection for nurses and other healthcare workers in the clinical setting when caring for Ebola patients, such as those used by Doctors Without Borders and the protocols developed by Emory University Hospital,” Cipriano said in the release.
As soon as they are released, the ANA will review the CDCs revised PPE recommendations and will provide feedback, Cipriano said in the release. While we believe nurses are obligated to care for patients in a non-discriminatory manner, with respect for all individuals, we also recognize there may be limits to the personal risk of harm nurses can be expected to accept as an ethical duty, she said. We strongly encourage nurses to speak up if they believe there is inadequate planning, education or treatment related to providing care to these or any patients, and seek to resolve any conflicts of risk and responsibility swiftly. Nurses should have the right to refuse an assignment if they do not feel adequately prepared or do not have the necessary equipment to care for Ebola patients.
Cipriano said interprofessional collaboration and working with state and federal organizations is essential to caring for Ebola patients in the U.S. As we address these important issues related to the U.S. Ebola response, we must also keep focused on the global response needed to address the crisis in West Africa,” she said. “Until we have sufficient systems and resources there to appropriately manage patient care and stop its spread, Ebola will remain a global concern.