​Dear Colleagues,

Many you have probably heard the news over the weekend regarding the health-care worker in Texas who contracted the Ebola virus after caring for an infected patient - this is both worrisome and saddening to hear for anyone who works in health-care, particularly in a hospital. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has so far deemed that a breach in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was the reason that health-care worker became infected. We know that PPE protects people from becoming infected with the virus - but it must be put on and taken off exactly as prescribed in order to afford that protection. At UHN, PPE training is one of the most important aspects of our planning and approach to caring for an Ebola patient. We are also going beyond what the CDC recommends for PPE by using airborne precautions as part of our basic approach.

Our staffing model for caring for an Ebola patient ensures that staff are always working in teams to don and doff their PPE to ensure that any breach in the process is prevented and in the case where one does occur, it is identified immediately. In addition to PPE training, practice drills will be necessary for staff to master the technique required to don and doff, as well as assist their colleagues as part of our buddy system approach. As part of our protocols, staff will always be provided with the time they need to don and doff their PPE. A very important lesson we  learned from SARS is that staff need to feel comfortable with PPE and have major input into what equipment is going to work for them.  

Training exercises in PPE have been taking place in high priority areas across UHN and are required for staff who work in the areas most likely to be involved in the care of a patient with a suspected or confirmed case of Ebola (EDs, TWH ICU, security, housekeeping, anaesthesia team, imaging, and respiratory therapists).

At this time we need to ensure that all staff in the areas listed above have completed training and feel comfortable in the use of PPE. Training sessions are on-going and the managers of theses departments have a list of upcoming sessions. The dates and times of PPE training are also available on the Ebola Preparedness section of the intranet.

We are also working on an ambulatory screening process, which we will implement in high risk ambulatory areas in the near future. Meanwhile, please remember that any patient who indicates they are unwell in clinic can be referred to ER.

Thank you to those who have already participated in the PPE training. Staff safety is our first priority, as such we are putting forward all of the resources necessary to train and support everyone each step of the way.

On behalf of the EVD steering committee, we would like to stress how well our staff came together during our first suspected case of Ebola. Their leadership, professionalism and courage was outstanding.

Kathy Sabo
Senior Vice President
Executive Lead – Ebola Preparedness

Dr. Susy Hota
Medical Co-Lead – Ebola Preparedness

Dr. Jeff Singh
Medical Co-Lead – Ebola Preparedness​

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