Procedures to help emergency personnel evaluate and manage emergency patients suspected of having Ebola infection are outlined in new guidelines published by the CDC.
The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) announced it has been working with the CDC and the Emergency Nurses Association to establish the procedures. The CDC published the new guidelines during the ACEP’s annual meeting, running through Thursday, October 30, in Chicago.
The new guidelines establish consistency for emergency care workers and reflect lessons learned from the recent experiences of US hospitals that are caring for patients with ebola, it was noted. The guidelines were evaluated and approved by a panel of experts—emergency physicians and emergency nurses with expertise in infectious disease and disaster preparedness appointed by the ACEP’s president.
The CDC guidelines include advice for the following:
• Assessing patients, including those for whom travel histories are unavailable (eg, when patients are unconscious).
• Putting on and removing personal protective equipment (PPE).
• Managing and isolating patients who may have ebola.
• Informing hospital personnel and other authorities about possible infection.
• Providing direct observation of health care workers during the donning and doffing processes for PPE.
“The new guidelines provide needed direction and drill down on specific situations to safely and effectively manage patients suspected of ebola,” said Stephen Cantrill, MD, FACEP, chair of the ACEP’s panel.
“It’s critical to protect the emergency medical staff who are on the front lines of caring for patients who may have ebola,” stated Alex Rosenau, MD, FACEP, immediate past president of the ACEP. “They are the ones most at risk for contamination, because they come in direct contact with the patient.”