As we enter into the typical flu and cold season, we find ourselves facing an anything-but-typical pandemic threat: Ebola. Given that the CDC has already established first responder preparedness and prevention techniques for hospitals, long-term care facilities need to also be aware of some common exposures and how to protect those workers and residents from any communicable disease, including Ebola.
What can you do to prevent Ebola and other communicable diseases within your long term care facility?
- Practice good hand hygiene with soap and water (How To HandWash & How To HandRub).
- Be conscious of and work to limit habitual touching of the face and eyes.
- Clean up safely, including environmental cleaning and disinfection as well as managing waste safely and appropriately. It’s also important to wash up after cleaning resident’s rooms.
- Use appropriate proper personal protective equipment (see Sequence for putting on PPE) while dealing with any blood and bodily fluids including but not limited to urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen.
- Follow safe practices for injections and drawing blood.
- Reinforce policies limiting employees bringing illness to work.
- Ebola specific: contact your doctor if you have an elevated fever (above 101.5° F) and have recently traveled from impacted countries (Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Nigeria) or if you have had a reasonable suspicion of contact with an Ebola patient.
- Re-evaluate your preparedness plan (Healthcare facility checklist for Ebola).
Given the initial stages of this potential threat, the ultimate focus should be on prevention.
For more information, please contact Risk Consultant Stacey Markel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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