Healthcare workers, including dialysis clinic staff, must be vigilant about identifying patients with a travel history to an Ebola-affected country and recognizing symptoms of the disease, according to a health advisory for healthcare workers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Healthcare workers must also isolate patients who report a travel history to an Ebola-affected country and who are exhibiting Ebola symptoms in a private room with a private bathroom and implement standard, contact, and droplet precautions.
The importance of proper identification and treatment techniques has reached a new level of urgency after the CDC announced Oct. 12 that a nurse who treated Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian, at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital has tested positive for Ebola.
"With the identification of the second case of Ebola virus in the U.S., which now also involves a healthcare worker, it is imperative that we all remain highly aware of early identification strategies, care practices, and the issues surrounding this virus," American Nephrology Nurses' Association president Sharon Longton told NN&I."Promptly identifying those at risk for Ebola exposure and maintaining diligence in infection control policies are mandatory to provide a safe environment for our patients, ourselves, and the community at large."
The CDC website has information regarding evaluating for and identifying Ebola patients, proper infection control techniques, and strategies for protecting health care workers.
"We urge all hospitals and health care workers to engage in comprehensive education and preparedness activities in order to ensure the safety of the public and health care professionals, The American Nurses Association President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, said in a statement. "We have the utmost confidence that health care providers are eager to take part in learning protocols that will protect health care workers and keep patients safe."