Vitalité Health Network takes stock of preparations to deal with Ebola virus disease
Bathurst, December 19, 2014 – Vitalité Health Network hospital facilities are ready to face a potential case of Ebola virus disease (EVD).
Focus on triage and screening
According to Network President and CEO Jean Castonguay, teams have been active for several months to ensure that all necessary measures are taken to face the virus. “The risk of the Ebola virus hitting New Brunswick is very low but procedures are in place to guide us in our interventions,” said Castonguay. According to the President and CEO, protocols are in place to identify potentially affected patients during triage and take quick action. “This will reduce the risk of spreading the infection to other patients and will ensure the safety of our staff,” he added.
Staff training and personal protective equipment
As part of preparations, a little more than 160 training sessions were offered to almost 850 employees. The emergency department staff of the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre (UHC) and regional hospitals in Edmundston, Campbellton and Bathurst received particular training to be able to identify symptoms and take action in the event that a patient suspected of having EVD would come to their facility. Intensive care staff of the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont UHC also got the training. Since mid-November, simulation exercises are being held on a regular basis to ensure that the targeted staff is properly trained and ready to take action.
The targeted facilities of the Network have personal protective equipment to ensure the safety of their caregivers. Employee training on how to use the equipment safely is under way.
Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont UHC: designated facility
The Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont UHC is one of the two hospital facilities designated in New Brunswick to admit potential Ebola cases. Richard Losier, Chief Operating Officer of the Beauséjour Zone, confirmed that the facility is ready to receive potentially affected patients. “Our front-line staff and physicians know how to respond and observe a rigorous protocol to protect themselves and avoid spreading the disease,” he said. “They also know how to care for affected patients.”
According to Dr. Richard Garceau, microbiologist-infectiologist at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont UHC, caregivers must be familiar with the personal protective equipment, which includes an impermeable gown, an apron, gloves, boot covers, a mask, a hood, and a face shield. “Employees have a protocol to follow when putting on and removing the various protective equipment pieces. Employees are supervised by a colleague to ensure that the protocol is strictly followed,” he said. Dr. Garceau also pointed out that the tests required to diagnose EVD complications and potentially related infections are available. The Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont UHC laboratory staff and he are working on developing a test that would make it possible to diagnose EVD on site. “This test could reduce delays in diagnosing this infection, as specimens must currently be sent to Winnipeg for analysis,” he stated.
Microbiology Technician at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont UHC Laboratory.
In the first picture: Allison White, Director of Clinical Programs, and Denise Ouellet, Infection Prevention and Control Nurse at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont UHC, demonstrating the personal protective equipment used by caregivers.