Clinical Consulting: Ebola: Designing Solutions for an International Crisis
Resources for information on Ebola Preparedness
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Ebola to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on August 8, 2014. This extraordinary event has created worldwide awareness and panic of the threat of such an epidemic. Generations of the past have been touched by such epidemics as yellow fever, cholera, and TB, but this generation (especially in the U.S.) has never experienced such possibilities.
The Ebola threat has turned everyone’s attention to this health crisis. With health systems ill prepared for such a crisis, it is important for those involved in the healthcare system to work together to create solutions during the crisis. From healthcare executives, physicians, nurses, facility managers, healthcare designers and engineers, we have an opportunity to develop new innovative ways to treat the patients and protect the public.
Below is an overview of current national efforts and guidelines to help educate you on this recent event.
Architecture and Design Community
Recently in the news is the work of the Texas A&M architectural students to develop portable Ebola clinics.
John Alsentzer, engineer with Smith Seckman Reid, Inc. (SSR), has had several conversations with facility directors developing plans to prepare their facility for this and other public health issues. Opportunities for temporary patient isolation spaces within the facility are considerations and, even more compelling, freestanding temporary facilities. These discussions are at the forefront of conversations for many healthcare leaders today in hospitals and clinics around the country. Isolation protocol, air filtration, waste disposal, and contamination are all factors that must be considered when creating these rapid prototype innovative spaces. It is important to engage an interdisciplinary team that can speak to the multifaceted implications and strategies required for a well orchestrated plan. One solution Alsentzer has researched is Abatement Technologies, a source for temporary solutions including HEPA/GFCI (HEPA filtration and UV irradiation lights combined in a unit), portable units, and other products like inflatable ante rooms. These possible containment systems can be found at www.abatement.com.
Preparing your Health System for Ebola
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been very active educating the healthcare community regarding protocol and guidelines. In most recent news, the CDC issued guidelines related to monitoring movement of persons with potential exposure.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Public Health Evaluation and Action
Coordinating Nursing Education Efforts
The Tri-Council of Nursing, which includes AONE, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the American Nurses Association and the National League for Nursing, has released a statement to support efforts to engage all segments of the nursing workforce in eradicating the Ebola virus. Nursing education infrastructure will be leveraged to serve as an important asset in organizing the approach to emergency preparedness. The Nursing Community members are sharing resources and education information in a coordinated effort.
Nursing Community Statement on Ebola Actions – Oct. 29, 2014
Updated CDC guidance on monitoring and movement – Oct. 28, 2014
CDC releases updated Ebola monitoring guidelines – Oct. 28, 2014
Engaging Academic Nursing in the National Response to Ebola – Oct. 27, 2014
CDC releases Ebola guidance for the ED – Oct. 27, 2014
CDC: Guidance on Personal Protective Equipment To Be Used by Healthcare Workers During Management of Patients with Ebola Virus Disease in U.S. Hospitals, Including Procedures for Putting On (Donning) and Removing (Doffing)