Kona hospital holds Ebola drill

Kona Community Hospital conducted a hospital-wide drill on Wednesday to measure hospital protocol and staff preparedness for a potential patient with Ebola symptoms.

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Kona Community Hospital conducted a hospital-wide drill on Wednesday to measure hospital protocol and staff preparedness for a potential patient with Ebola symptoms.

Performance improvement director Marcy Rogers presented herself to the hospital’s emergency department triage nurse as a patient with Ebola-like symptoms whose roommate had recently traveled to Africa.

This began the morning-long exercise to track the processes for managing the care of a patient with suspected Ebola symptoms, from identification in the emergency department through to admission to the intensive care unit.

State epidemiologist Sarah Park was on hand to accompany the group and provide input.

“As clinicians, our routine primary role is clinical assessment,” she said while observing procedures for admitting the patient to an ICU isolation room.

“These drills empower staff as infection preventionists,” Park said.

Throughout the process, team members reviewed guidelines and best practices, as well as the latest recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for safe management of a suspected Ebola patient.

The drill allowed the team to revise and tighten procedures.

“The purpose of this drill was to identify our strengths and weaknesses, as well as any gaps in preparedness,” said Lisa Downing, the hospital’s infection prevention director.

“Being prepared is a hospital-wide effort, and we continuously drill and re-train all departments,” she added.

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Ebola drill team members included staff members from the emergency department, clinical administration, security, medical staff, infection control, respiratory therapy and housekeeping.

Nonstaff team members included Park and Jenny Ushiroda with the Hawaii Department of Health.

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