Tahoe-Truckee hospitals encourage Ebola awareness | SierraSun.com

Tahoe-Truckee hospitals encourage Ebola awareness

Special to the Bonanza

This image made available by the CDC shows the Ebola virus.

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Recent news about four patients diagnosed with Ebola (two people in the U.S. who acquired it elsewhere, and two nurses in Dallas) has brought into question the preparedness of hospitals to diagnose and treat Ebola.

The issue has created heightened concern about safe work practice in health care settings for both healthcare workers and the community. This notice is to inform the public about Tahoe Forest Health System's preparedness for treatment of Ebola.

Tahoe Forest Health System has initiated an emergency management team of leaders, clinical staff and subject matter experts. An Ebola preparedness plan is in place. The team is working in close contact with local, state and federal officials on preparedness for issues specific to Ebola.

Early identification of potentially infectious patients is key. Staff is prepared at all first points of contact where patients may seek care for acute illness.

Staff in these areas have been trained and provided a script of screening questions and instruction for Ebola. This screening includes a brief medical history, detection of any symptoms of illness and travel history. Next step action plans are in place if a patient answers yes to the screening questions.

Tahoe Forest Hospital and Incline Village Community Hospital have specific containment and isolation plans if an Ebola patient is identified.

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Personal protection equipment is available for all staff based on level of possible exposure. Both Health System emergency rooms are stocked with personal protective equipment. Training on safe use of this equipment is ongoing.

The Tahoe Forest Health System Ebola Preparedness Team continues to refine all of the processes that permeate the Health System.

There is ongoing training of all clinical staff in basic infection control procedures. Safe work practices are a standard of care throughout the Health System.

Since the emergence of the Ebola virus in the U.S., both the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have provided guidance and resources specific to hospitals being prepared to treat this disease.

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Here are some general reminders about Ebola:

Ebola is spread by touching blood or bodily fluids (urine, stool, saliva, or vomit) of a person who is sick with or has died of Ebola; or by touching contaminated objects like needles. You cannot get Ebola through the air, water, or through food.

With the annual flu season underway, patients should be aware of the differences in symptoms of Ebola vs. influenza, which can cause similar symptoms in the early stages, such as fever and body aches.

For more information about the flu and Ebola, visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu and http://www.cdc.gov/ebola.

This article was submitted to the Bonanza by Tahoe Forest Hospital. Visit tfhd.com to learn more.