New York, New York
Ebola Virus Disease PPE Selection, Protocol and Usage Training
In the midst of the Ebola crisis gripping the US in late 2014, Emilcott’s client—a major healthcare provider in NYC—was preparing to admit the next patient suspected of carrying the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). Several healthcare workers treating EVD patients in Africa and the US contracted the virus, so Emilcott’s environmental, health and safety professionals were asked to help the hospital develop safe work practices and procedures to be used by medical staff if an EVD or suspected EVD patient was admitted for care.
Referring to three decades of experience donning and doffing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE ) in field conditions on hazardous waste sites, in-depth knowledge of proper PPE usage, and a comprehensive understanding of the healthcare industry’s unique health and safety needs, Emilcott worked alongside the hospital’s staff and personnel from the Center for Disease Control ( CDC) to determine the appropriate PPE needed and develop a sequence for donning and doffing that met the hospital’s needs to protect hospital staff and patients.
The process consisted of studying the existing procedures already in use for infectious control and adjusting the selection of PPE and adjusting the sequence of donning / doffing to address the high risk of exposure associated with EVD. Removal of the PPE was particularly challenging since this created the point of highest risk of exposure.
Emilcott and hospital staff worked together to select the best possible PPE available, conducting trials and eliminating any PPE that fell short and could results in possible exposure. Once the sequence was finalized after many successful trials and peer view, a group of Emilcott trainers, knowledgeable of the process and PPE, were selected to train the medical staff.
The medical staff underwent hands-on training, learning how to properly don and doff the PPE. They also received proper training on patient identification and isolation should an EVD patient present themselves. Emilcott also helped the client develop protocols for documenting and maintaining the records of staff that received EVD training.
The procedures and training were ultimately approved by the CDC and the NY Department of Health and Mental Hygiene as the “best practice” for protecting healthcare workers from exposure to EVD. Although EVD is no longer main stream concern for hospitals here in the US—per our recommendation—the client is still routinely training its medical staff and developing procedures should EVD or another infectious disease surface in the US.