Today, we are moving off of the Level 3 activation as it relates to the Ebola situation, and we are returning to normal operations across the organization. Moving forward, we are going to focus on a few key actions:
• We are going to consolidate the groups that have been working on Ebola readiness and form one smaller task force to continue our planning and preparation.
• We will utilize our system-wide Emergency Response Team to advance our training, readiness and response to any infectious disease outbreak.
• We will be developing a Code to be used specifically for an infectious disease emergency situation. This will help streamline our response to patients and be especially helpful to non-clinical employees who may not feel comfortable in the situation.
• We continue to refine the amount and type of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Based on staff feedback and evolving CDC guidelines, we are looking at obtaining the most effective, comfortable and easy-to-use PPE. And, we will continue our rigorous training programs at all entities to ensure employees know how to properly and safely use PPE.
• We are developing a plan to utilize our Telehealth Center, which you may know more commonly as our eICUs. We have the opportunity to tap the expertise of our eICU physicians and nurses to remotely monitor patients with Ebola or who may be suspected of having Ebola or another highly infectious disease. This approach follows the CDC guidelines for minimizing contact with an affected patient.
Is the current situation over? No, it’s not. However, the extensive training and education that we have done, and will continue to do, across our entire system have made all of us better prepared to care for potential patients with Ebola – with safety as a top priority.
In a healthcare crisis, we play a vital role in reassuring the community that Baptist Health is well-prepared, well-informed and well-equipped for a safe and effective response. Thank you for your part in sharing that important message with our patients, guests, neighbors and your coworkers. We’ll keep you updated as we learn more and continue our preparation.