As soon as the first Ebola patient was diagnosed in the United States, St. Claire Regional Medical Center (SCR) began preparing for a possible encounter. SCR began by forming an Infectious Disease/Ebola Team in coordination with our local Public Health Department (PHD) and Emergency Management Services (EMS). All frontline staff was trained on how to recognize and manage a suspect Ebola-positive patient and the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
"St. Claire Regional continues to take every precaution to ensure the health safety of our staff and region. We have conducted and completed many training drills as part of our on-going efforts to prepare for any infectious disease situation, but we wanted to go a step further and conduct specific training drills just for Ebola," said Linda Fultz, SCR's vice president of quality and resource management.
On Thursday, November 6, SCR, local PHD officials and EMS completed the Kentucky Public Health Ebola Tabletop Exercise which reviewed comprehensive plans for all clinical staff, pre-hospital transport, emergency department procedures and how to handle family members of suspected Ebola patients. The table top drill was then followed-up with an actual staged drill which was held on Tuesday, December 2. The drill involved suspected Ebola patients presenting to SCR's emergency room.
"Staged drills give us a real opportunity to practice what we have trained, and most importantly gives us an opportunity for improvement in our processes for treatment prior to an actual encounter," said David Race, MD, SCR disaster preparedness medical director. "Immediately after our drills we hold a debriefing in which all aspects are evaluated through a formal critique process. I feel that the infectious disease drill went exceptionally well which helps us to know that our consistent and repetitive trainings work."