The emergency department’s annual drill in November is one of the ways staff are practicing procedures for screening and isolating a patient with Ebola.
“We appreciate the efforts of all of the people at our University of California medical centers who are working to ensure that we are prepared to care for patients with Ebola and to maintain the safety of our health-care professionals,” said John Stobo, systemwide UC senior vice president for health sciences and services.
“UC is proud to partner with the state to help address this potential health crisis,” he said. “All five UC medical centers already have been identified by the state as priority hospitals to treat confirmed Ebola cases. We are very pleased that two of our medical centers – UC Davis and UC San Francisco – have been designated by the federal government as hospitals with Ebola treatment centers.”
The Ebola virus presents unique challenges that require a heightened level of preparedness, communication and coordination to safely manage a patient and prevent the spread of infection. Academic medical centers like UC Davis are staffed, equipped and have the appropriate resources and training in place to safely receive and care for a confirmed case of Ebola. This care requires more intensive preparation and training of staff than a facility that will temporarily care for suspect patients while a diagnosis is being made.
“UC Davis Medical Center was chosen as an Ebola treatment center because of the infection prevention expertise of our physicians and nurses, and demonstrated ability to develop and implement comprehensive Ebola treatment protocols quickly – the result of many weeks of preparation and training,” said J. Douglas Kirk, chief medical officer at UC Davis.
These efforts range from establishing an Ebola preparedness task force with representatives across multiple disciplines to develop and implement the health system’s coordinated strategy against the virus and establishing a designated care team who are trained to treat a confirmed Ebola patient. These physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and environmental service workers have been receiving intensive and ongoing training, with a focus on the donning and doffing of personal protective equipment (PPE), which must be performed precisely to ensure staff safety.
Last month, UC Davis invited CDC representatives and state and federal public health officials for a day-long tour and briefing at UC Davis Medical Center on Nov. 20 to assess the health system’s preparedness as a priority hospital in California and to provide helpful insights on our processes and procedures.
“While we were not aware during the CDC’s November visit that this designation was a possible outcome, being named an Ebola treatment center further validates all of the hard work we have done for more than two months to revise our protocols, redirect our resources, gather specialty equipment and train our staff,” he said.
“We are very proud of the hard work, courage and professionalism of all of the members of our Ebola care team who volunteered to be on the front lines should we receive a patient,” said Carol Robinson, chief nursing officer. “Their input, which helped to shape our policies and procedures, has been invaluable. We are fortunate to have such a strong, collaborative team as we face the evolving challenges of this dangerous disease.”