Ebola readiness at HCMC

HCMC routinely prepares and exercises its emergency response procedures for all types of emergencies, including infectious disease outbreaks. HCMC has a comprehensive plan in place if a patient presents with symptoms

As a Level I Trauma Center, Regional Hospital Resource Center and leader in emergency preparedness planning, Hennepin County Medical Center routinely prepares and exercises its emergency response procedures for disasters, infectious disease outbreaks (due to bioterrorism or natural events), and other types of emergency situations.

Just hours before the first case of Ebola was diagnosed in the United States, staff at HCMC conducted a comprehensive, 4-hour exercise to simulate the care of a patient with Ebola symptoms from the clinic all the way through to the ICU,  including transportation by ambulance to the emergency department.

“While we already have comprehensive plans in place to handle Ebola and any type of infectious disease, we wanted to make sure we did a run-through of our procedures from start to finish,” explains Mary Ellen Bennett, MPH, RN, CIC, Director of Infection Prevention and Employee Occupational Health.

“Our staff are trained in the early recognition of infections and what actions they should take if they see a suspicious case, and we have protocols in place to protect staff, patients, and visitors. The exercise confirmed that we are prepared to isolate and care for patients with symptoms of Ebola.”

Careful screening is the key to identifying or ruling out any patient who may be showing signs of Ebola. That’s why any patient seeking care who has a fever is being asked if they have traveled, and if they had contact with someone who was ill. This type of screening is the first step in helping caregivers identify risk factors. Screening and careful isolation practices are essential in preventing the spread of Ebola.

“We hope that no Minnesotans become ill with this virus,” said Bennett. “But we know that HCMC is prepared if they come here for care.”

For more information about Ebola, go to the Minnesota Department of Health ‘s web site  at www.health.state.mn.us.

 

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 (Photo credit: Alvin Sangma Photography)

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