Categorized | Featured, Health

KCH measures Ebola readiness under eye of state epidemiologist

Dr. David Hefer dons personal protective equipment with help of ICU staff/buddies. In background from left to right: Lisa Downing, RN Infection Prevention Director, Dr. Sarah Park, State Epidemiologist, Hawaii DOH and Kevin Brunsen, RN, ICU nurse. (Photo courtesy of Kona Community Hospital)

Dr. David Hefer dons personal protective equipment with help of ICU staff/buddies. In background from left to right: Lisa Downing, RN Infection Prevention Director, Dr. Sarah Park, State Epidemiologist, Hawaii DOH and Kevin Brunsen, RN, ICU nurse. (Photo courtesy of Kona Community Hospital)

MEDIA RELEASE

Kona Community Hospital conducted a hospital-wide drill Nov. 5 to measure hospital protocol and staff preparedness for a potential patient with Ebola symptoms.

Performance Improvement director, Marcy Rogers, presented herself to the hospital’s emergency department triage nurse as a patient with Ebola-like symptoms whose roommate had recently traveled to Africa.

This began the morning-long exercise to track the processes for managing the care of a patient with suspected Ebola symptoms from identification in the emergency department through to admission to the hospital’s intensive care unit.

State epidemiologist, Dr. Sarah Park was on hand to accompany the group and provide input.

“As clinicians, our routine primary role is clinical assessment,” she said while observing procedures for admitting the patient to an ICU isolation room.

Throughout the process, team members reviewed guidelines and best practices as well as the latest CDC recommendations for safe management of a suspected Ebola patient. This approach allowed the team to revise and tighten procedures.

“The purpose of this drill was to identify our strengths and weaknesses as well as any gaps in preparedness,” said Lisa Downing, RN, Infection Prevention director. “Being prepared is a hospital-wide effort, and we continuously drill and re-train all departments.”

Ebola drill team members included staff members from the emergency department, clinical administration, security, medical staff, infection control, respiratory therapy and housekeeping.

Non-staff team members included Dr. Park and Jenny Ushiroda with the Hawaii Department of Health.

Dr. Park observed that “…these drills empower staff as infection preventionists.”

Immediately following the drill, team members conducted a table top debriefing to summarize findings of the practice. The group consensus was that the drill was a success.

“Hands-on practice allows us to change a few procedures, and tighten those that are already effective. We will continue to have these readiness drills” said Lisa Downing. “Patient and staff safety remain our day-to-day focus.”

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