Hospital security policies and personnel can play a huge role in preventing the spread of the Ebola epidemic that is raging on in West Africa, according to an article at SecurityInfoWatch.com.
As the U.S. prepares for the spread of the virus, Caroline Ramsey Hamilton, president of Risk and Security LLC, wrote that security departments at American hospitals should prepare to:
Create and secure isolation units and walkways for regular and Ebola patients
Ensure the hospital has adequate supplies, including temporary barriers, food, water, containment and hazmat suits, respirators and more
Use effective communication systems, such as temporary signs and electronic message boards for internal communications as well as communication with the community
Hospitals should create two separate pathways to enter the hospital--one for suspected Ebola-exposed patients and one for regular patients. The emergency department should be reserved for regular patients, while another tent facility or temporary building should be set up in the hospital parking lot to treat suspected cases, according to Hamilton.
"Healthcare organizations can use the epidemic as a 'live' emergency drill, setting up an Ebola action committee, and seeing how fast and effectively the group can set up a plan," she wrote.
U.S. hospitals have done a good job of containing the virus so far. A 51-year-old aid worker being treated for Ebola at the Nebraska Medical Center was released from the hospital this week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared him virus-free, KETV News reported.
However, there have been snags along the way. Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, which treated two workers who contracted the virus in West Africa, had no place to dispose of Ebola-tainted medical waste when their waste management provider initially refused to pick it up, FierceHealthcare reported. Emory kept the waste on site in 32-gallon rubber, sealable bins, until the CDC finally brokered a deal with the waste management company.
The issue highlighted doubts hospitals are prepared for all the possible consequences of the spread of the virus.