Dear Colleagues,

We have completed the testing of our Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) with Healthcare Human Factors, which was done to ensure staff are fully protected while caring for an Ebola patient. The process for analyzing our PPE was rigorous and included a close examination of every step of donning and doffing in order to identify any aspects of the equipment and process that could put staff at a high risk for contamination. We learned that our PPE tested very well and that we could provide additional protection with a hood/shroud and a new type of apron. We have sourced and ordered these two items.

Not too long ago, the media reported that PPE gowns manufactured by Kimberly-Clark were being criticized for not being impermeable as they are advertised as being. While these allegations have not been proven, we want to assure staff that we are not using these gowns. We have chosen the Cardinal Health Inc. SmartGown™, which is the only breathable, fully impervious gown in the industry to receive an AAMI Level 4 rating based on independent 2008 laboratory testing.

Although news in the media about Ebola has dropped off, the outbreak in West Africa continues and new cases are still being reported. The most likely scenario where we will be caring for an Ebola patient at UHN is a repatriated Canadian from the region, who has contracted the virus. The Canadian Military recently deployed a team of 40 medical personnel to serve in Sierra Leone. We continue to ensure we are well prepared with enhanced safety protocols to screen patients for Ebola at TGH, TWH, PMH and plans are underway to implement screening at TR.

We have created a new FAQ document for patients and visitors to UHN that explains to them in plain language what Ebola is and what UHN is doing to keep them safe while they are receiving care here. This document is posted on both the intranet site and our external website at UHN.ca. We continue to refine our processes to care for an Ebola patient and are holding mock exercises with the teams that will be providing care. We are also working closely with the Ministry of Health and all of the relevant external partners that are involved with coordinating the transfer and care of an Ebola patient.

Please visit the IPAC intranet page to access all the latest information on our Ebola Preparedness Plan and the Ministry of Health directives (newest directives are related to Primary Care). We encourage you to contact us with your questions, concerns or feedback regarding our preparedness at EbolaQuestions@uhn.ca.

On a final note, the work you are doing here and the dedication of our health-care workers in the field is extremely vital. TIME Magazine's 2014 Person of the Year title has been collectively awarded to healthcare workers who have been caring for patients during the Ebola outbreak. This recognition highlights that in health-care, dedication and compassion can be limitless.  

Sincerely,

Kathy Sabo                         Susy Hota                            Jeff Singh​

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