CarePoint Health Details Ebola Preparedness Measures
System conducting drills and examining protocols in accordance with up to the minute data from State and Federal Officials
CarePoint Health today announced several system-wide measures detailing its organizational preparedness in response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and individual cases in other parts of the world. These latest measures have been put into place throughout the CarePoint Health system which includes: CarePoint Health-Hoboken University Medical Center (Hoboken), CarePoint Health-Christ Hospital (Jersey City), CarePoint Health- Bayonne Medical Center (Bayonne), CarePoint Health Medical Group and McCabe Ambulance (which provides service throughout Hudson County). CarePoint Health will continue to examine its procedures, institution by institution, on an ongoing basis with guidance from state and federal health officials. “CarePoint Health has our entire organization focused on making sure that we are prepared to deal with treating potential Ebola patients,” said CarePoint CEO Dennis Kelly. “The safety of our community, our patients and our staff is our top priority.”
The planning is comprehensive in nature and involves every aspect of the CarePoint Health system. Early detection and accurate diagnosis are critical for both infection control and for the treatment of an affected patient. It begins from the moment a patient calls for an ambulance, arrives at an Emergency Department, or seeks medical care in a physician’s office with symptoms and risk factors that could indicate an Ebola infection.
When a patient arrives in the Emergency Department, they will be immediately screened to determine their risk of exposure to Ebola. If a case is suspected, CarePoint Health has procedures, equipment and technology in place to help limit exposure and to safely care for the patient. “We are in constant contact with the State Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta on the latest intelligence around Ebola behavior and protective measures,” said Dr. Mark Spektor, Chief Clinical Integration Officer for CarePoint Health. “We will continue to refine our plan based upon the latest information available from clinicians treating Ebola patients.”
If a call is received for an ambulance to be dispatched, McCabe Ambulance has taken precautionary measures to assess callers before an ambulance even arrives at the scene. “Our call screening software technology, ProQA, incorporates an Ebola Screening Tool that prompts our dispatchers to ask about recent travel and critical symptoms,” said Michael McCabe, Chief of McCabe Ambulance. “Our EMTs have all been trained in compliance with CDC and Department of Health recommendations. If our dispatchers suspect that a patient may be at risk for Ebola, our EMTs can safely transfer the patient and notify the receiving hospital. We want to protect the public as well as our employees.”
Some of the immediate measures that CarePoint Health has implemented in preparation for caring for patients who are suspected to be infected with communicable infections such as Ebola include:
- Ebola Drills. CarePoint Health hospitals have each begun running unannounced Ebola drills to help prepare staff members for how to deal with a suspected Ebola case. These drills will continue until the recent outbreak has been contained.
- Creation of Ebola “Grab and Go” bags in Emergency Departments. Pre-packaged bags containing all necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), instructions for donning/doffing the PPE and a checklist of how to care for patients suspected of being infected with Ebola are available in all of the CarePoint Health Emergency Departments.
- Technology. With the new electronic medical record system, changes have been made to the screening and triage of patients making it mandatory to document travel history at intake.
- Internal Communications. CarePoint Health is providing updates about our processes, protocols and systems to all staff members via email, Town Hall meetings, group huddles, text alerts, and other channels. There are also targeted communications for clinical staff, Emergency Department personnel, security guards, housekeeping staff, communications reps and senior leadership addressing their specific protocols.
- Regular Communications with CDC and State and Local Health Departments. CarePoint Health is in constant communication with the CDC, State of NJ and local Health Departments so that protocols and procedures can be adjusted based upon up to the minute clinical data.
- Use of Personal Protective Equipment. CarePoint Health is conducting department specific hands-on training on the proper use of Personal Protective Equipment. This training includes donning and doffing of equipment as well as environmental issues surrounding waste disposal.
- Multidisciplinary Task Force. CarePoint Health has convened a working group drawn from our departments of clinical services, environmental services, infection control, admitting, materials management, human resources, security and others in order to review, revise and elaborate on our Ebola response plan. This group has participated in conference calls with the State Department of Health and the CDC pertaining to how health care facilities are to prepare and respond to a potential Ebola case.
- Staff Education. Staff members will regularly receive written educational material developed by the CDC and compiled by the Departments of Infection Control and Organizational Education that will address many of the questions surrounding Ebola. Full educational in-services will be provided for those staff members and our affiliated physicians who may potentially have any involvement in either the direct or indirect care of an Ebola patient.
About CarePoint Health
CarePoint Health brings quality, patient-focused health care to Hudson County. Combining the resources of three area hospitals – CarePoint Health-Bayonne Medical Center, CarePoint Health-Christ Hospital, and CarePoint Health-Hoboken University Medical Center and its affiliated medical practices– as well as McCabe Ambulance, CarePoint Health provides a new approach to delivering health care that puts the patient front and center. We leverage a network of top doctors, nurses, EMTs and other medical professionals whose expertise and attentiveness work together to provide complete coordination of care, from the doctor’s office to the hospital to the home. Patients benefit from the expertise and capabilities of a broad network of leading specialists and specialized technology. And at CarePoint Health, all of our medical professionals emphasize preventive medicine and focus on educating patients to make healthy life choices. For more information on our facilities, partners and services, visit our website, www.carepointhealth.org.
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