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Preparation, practice essential to control Ebola

Preparation, practice essential to control Ebola

ANAHEIM, Calif. — “Get a flu shot,” the president and CEO of the American Hospital Association advised health care risk managers on how to deal with the Ebola threat. “That's not a request; that's a homework assignment.”

Richard J. Umbdenstock of the Washington-based association made his comments during the opening keynote address Sunday at the American Society For Healthcare Risk Management Annual Conference And Exhibition.

“If there was a textbook case of the value of risk management and risk managers to their health care organizations, it's now” because of Ebola, he said.

“It's a particularly challenging and deadly disease that demands a vigilant adherence to protocols” and nobody in our mobile society can risk ignoring it, he said. Health care organizations must do everything they can to protect patients, staff members and the community, Mr. Umbdenstock said.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued more guidance last week centered on three principles, he said: All hospital workers must undergo rigorous training with protective equipment; there must be no skin exposure when the protective equipment is worn; and all workers must be supervised by a trained monitor who watches each worker put on and take off the protective gear.

Other advice offered by the CDC included prompt screening and triage; designated site managers to ensure proper implementation of precautions; a limited number of people in the room with the patient; and effective environmental cleaning and waste disposal.

At a minimum, he said, hospitals must be able to detect, isolate and manage the initial care of someone suspected of having, or who has, Ebola while protecting other patients and staff, and then transferring them as necessary to other hospitals. They must use resources to train staff and “drill, baby, drill” the entire course of care — from diagnosis to waste removal, Mr. Umbdenstock said.

Business Insurance's digital coverage of the 2014 ASHRM Annual Conference & Exhibition is sponsored by Lexington Insurance company and Riskonnect. To view all the Digital Daily news and related content in its ideal form, use a nonmobile browser to visit