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Published on November 05, 2014

Getting Ready for Ebola

The news that a Rutland resident who traveled from West Africa was under voluntary quarantine has brought an international health issue to the forefront in our community. While the individual shows no symptoms of Ebola, there are many questions and much anxiety about the possibility of an outbreak and how prepared Rutland Regional Medical Center is to deal with the potential risk.

At Rutland Regional, our commitment to the health, well-being and safety of our community — essentially, everything we do — is in preparation to handle emerging health care issues.

What we are doing:

The health and safety of our patients, staff and visitors remain our top priority. Hospital leaders, physicians, nurses, educators, infection control and other departments have been monitoring the situation and have teamed up to create an Ebola Preparedness Team ensuring that we are prepared for the unlikely, but potential, arrival of a patient exhibiting signs of Ebola.

The Ebola Preparedness Team is following Ebola-specific plans and protocols, developed at the Nebraska Medical Center and at Emory Healthcare and in conjunction with the latest Vermont Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control guidelines, to facilitate swift action that protects both our patients and staff.

Additionally, Rutland Regional has identified areas that would be used for patient isolation, inventoried supplies including personal protective equipment for staff, and provided training and best practices on patient identification, isolation, infection prevention and procedures for reporting possible infection.

Our focus is to:

Inquire. Using CDC guidelines, patients and visitors to our main facility and hospital-owned clinics will be asked two health screening questions upon entry:

1) Have you traveled to Africa or an Ebola-affected area in the past 21 days

2) Have you been in close physical contact with a person who has traveled to Africa or an Ebola-affected area in the past 21 days?

Signage throughout our facilities will ask patients and visitors to identify themselves to staff members if they believe they are at risk.

Identify. Through appropriate questions we will identify whether an individual has any of the Ebola symptoms including: fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, lack of appetite, or in some cases, bleeding.

Isolate. Anyone presenting risk factors will be placed in pre-determined areas, and key staff members will provide care to these patients with the use of advanced personal protective equipment.

Inform. Key staff will contact the Vermont Department of Health, which will facilitate any needed notifications to the CDC and local authorities

Our team will continue to conduct training exercises on Ebola processes and protocols to ensure our staff is prepared with a response to any Ebola threat. We will continue to monitor changes in Department of Health and CDC guidelines and alter our protocols to reflect current recommendations, enabling us to provide care that protects our patients, staff and visitors.

Rutland Regional is privileged to be entrusted with caring for your health care needs, and we are confident that we are making every effort to prepare our staff and our community. While the risk of anyone with active Ebola coming into our organization is extraordinarily small, it is not zero. The precautions we are taking are vital to protect our patients, visitors and staff.

For more information:

The Health Info section on our website, www.RRMC.org, includes educational information about Ebola and is a helpful resource.

Thomas W. Huebner is president of Rutland Regional Medical Center.

Published in the Rutland Herald on November 5, 2014


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Rutland Regional Medical Center
160 Allen Street
Rutland, VT 05701
802.775.7111

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