Monday, October 27, 2014

Norman Regional Health System leadership continues to monitor the developing health situation surrounding the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). We are working closely with the local and state health departments, as well as the American and Oklahoma Hospital Associations to understand what is required of our health system should we have a patient come into our hospital with Ebola or any other infectious disease.

Our team is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) preparedness guidelines as well as the World Health Organization (WHO).

Since early October, Norman Regional has focused on the screening of potential EVD patients and staff training and preparation. Patients who seek treatment through any of the Health System hospitals or clinics are screened for potential exposure to Ebola. Norman Regional began asking new questions at all points of entry into the health system. They are:

  • Have you, or anyone you have been in close contact with, traveled to West Africa, specifically Liberia, Guinea or Sierre Leone, within the last 21 days? If so, where?
  • Do you have any of the following symptoms: Fever, Severe Headache, Muscle Pain, Weakness, Diarrhea, Vomiting, Abdominal (stomach) Pain, Unexplained bleeding or bruising

If the patient answers yes, to both of these questions, our EVD protocol is implemented. The recommended CDC precautions will be followed. That means staff will, don personal protective equipment (PPE) and isolate the patient in a private room for treatment.

Norman Regional is working on repeat training of staff on all Ebola-related infection control practices and procedures, specifically in putting on and taking off (donning and doffing) of proper personal protective equipment. Our staff will utilize the buddy system to ensure safe and effective practices as well as to monitor those in PPE for fatigue.

Norman Regional leadership is continually reviewing our processes and protocol to identify and treat any potential patients for the Ebola Virus Disease. We are continually training staff on these processes and procedures in an effort be prepared. Should a patient seek treatment at any of our locations, our team will immediately begin a coordinated care effort in collaboration with the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control as well as many other local, state and federal agencies.

The CDC has an in-depth website about the Ebola virus. You can find more details by following the link: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/.