Posted by Heidi Schwartz
The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) announced it has been working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Emergency Nurses Association to establish procedures to help emergency personnel evaluate and manage emergency patients suspected of possible Ebola infection. The CDC published the new guidelines for emergency departments during ACEP’s annual meeting where experts from across the country are meeting to discuss key issues, including Ebola.
The new guidelines (presented in the infographic below) were evaluated and approved by a panel of experts—consisting of emergency physicians and emergency nurses with expertise in infectious disease and disaster preparedness—appointed by ACEP’s president. They establish consistency for emergency care workers and reflect lessons learned from the recent experiences of U.S. hospitals caring for Ebola patients.
“It’s critical to protect the emergency medical staff who are on the front lines of caring for patients who may have Ebola,” said Alex Rosenau, MD, FACEP, immediate past president of ACEP. “They are the ones most at risk for contamination, because they come in direct contact with the patient, as demonstrated by the infections of the nurses in Dallas and the recent case of the emergency physician in New York. On behalf of our 34,000 members, we are so grateful for the recovery of the nurses and we are optimistic that Dr. Spencer will recover as well.”
The CDC guidelines include advice for:
- Assessing patients, including those for whom travel histories are unavailable (for example, when patients are unconscious).
- Putting on (donning) and removing (doffing) of personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Managing and isolating patients who may have Ebola.
- Informing hospital personnel and other authorities about possible infection.
- Providing direct observation of health care workers during the donning and doffing processes for PPE.
“ACEP’s Ebola panel of experts are dedicated to providing expertise to help emergency care workers and the emergency patients they serve,” said Stephen Cantrill, MD, FACEP, chair of ACEP’s panel. “The new guidelines provided needed direction and drill down on specific situations to manage patients suspected of Ebola.”
ACEP is the national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research, and public education.