North Shore-LIJ Health System published an Ebola Virus Disease Preparedness Manual on Oct. 29 to aid healthcare organizations and local governments across the U.S.
The downloadable resource guide which is available online at http://bit.ly/Ebola-preparedness-manual covers a range of topics, including emergency management structure, clinical guidelines, policies and procedures, staff education and training, internal and external communication, internal evaluation tools and external resources, according to a news release.
The manual provides extremely important information on how nurses and other caregivers can function in a highly contagious environment, without contaminating themselves or areas outside of the containment area, Donna Armellino, CNP, RN, CIC, North Shores vice president, infection prevention, said in the release. It includes vital how-to lists, such as the safest way of performing certain procedures, drawing blood from an affected patient and transferring samples from the isolation room to the lab, managing waste, delivering food, and donning and doffing of personal protective equipment. The overarching goal of the procedures manual is to maximize the safety of providers and patients.
Armellino and other North Shore nurses, according to the release, were involved in compiling the manual.
All North Shore-LIJ facilities have established isolation areas in the event they receive a suspected Ebola patient, and the health system has recruited a volunteer team of critical care clinicians and created a temporary treatment unit at Glen Cove (N.Y.) Hospital to provide around-the-clock care to any affected patients, according to the release.
As a more permanent solution to improve its preparedness for future infectious disease outbreaks, the health system announced Oct. 23 that it will pursue the development of a biological containment unit, modeled after the University of Nebraska Medicine Biocontainment Patient Care Unit in Omaha and the Serious Communicable Disease Unit at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, which have played a vital national role in caring for Ebola patients in recent weeks.
With more than 10,000 reported cases, including nearly 5,000 deaths worldwide, the current Ebola virus outbreak in Western Africa represents one of the most significant international public health emergencies we have seen in years, Michael Dowling, president and CEO of the North Shore-LIJ, which is one of eight hospitals and health systems in New York designated as Ebola treatment centers, said in the release. Its imperative that caregivers remain vigilant to stop the spread of the infection.