Ebola Preparedness and General Infection Prevention

October 31, 2014

Ebola

Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital is working closely with the Kentucky Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure our hospital is prepared with the appropriate plans to detect, protect and respond should anyone in our community contract or be exposed to the Ebola virus.  While we have not treated any patients with Ebola at our hospital, and there have been no confirmed cases in Kentucky, out of an abundance of caution, Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital has taken the following measures to prepare:

  • Implemented new screening processes to identify patients who have traveled to countries affected by Ebola, or who have had contact with someone who has traveled to those countries.
  • Placed signs at the entrances and other strategic areas of the hospital and outpatient facilities, asking anyone who has a fever and had traveled outside the country, or who has had exposure to an international traveler, to notify staff immediately.
  • Practiced appropriate isolation procedures in the event a patient presents with symptoms.
  • Evaluated our supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure protective gear is available for our staff.
  • Distributed detailed guidance to all hospital staff regarding the appropriate steps to prevent the spread of infection and the proper procedures for handling a patient who has, or is suspected to have, Ebola.
  • Triage and admission assessments have been revised to include questions regarding travel to high risk areas, as well as recent contact with people from those areas. 
  • Designated dedicated isolation rooms for patients who may have been exposed to Ebola.  

Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital staff are trained and prepared to manage outbreaks of viruses and infectious diseases, including Ebola.

“We want to assure the community that we are taking the appropriate precautionary measures to keep our team members, patients, guests, and community safe,” said Sheryl Glasscock, RN, DNP, Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital Chief Nursing Officer. 

However, Glasscock added it is important to recognize that the safety of our community is also dependent upon everyone being vigilant in observing their own health and avoiding contact with individuals who may have come in contact with Ebola.  If that happens, it is essential they self-report to their local health department as soon as possible.

As a reminder, to help avoid the spread of other infections, flu or other viruses, it is always important for individuals to follow standard procedures for good hygiene and infection control, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, scrubbing the backs, between fingers, and under your nails, for at least 20 seconds.
  • If you don’t have access to soap and water, use and alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth – especially with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact and sharing food, cups or eating utensils with anyone who may have a virus.
  • Disinfect your home and belongings, such as children’s toys and play areas regularly.
  • Ensure that those who are sick stay home from school, work, or public areas to avoid exposing others to infection.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.  If a tissue is not available cough or sneeze in your sleeve or elbow (not your hands).
  • Get your annual flu vaccine.