GREAT NECK, NY – As a public service, the North Shore-LIJ Health System today announced the publication of an Ebola Virus Disease Preparedness Manual for healthcare organizations and local governments across the US to aid in preparedness efforts and shed light on key clinical and operational best practices that can prevent the virus from spreading.
This detailed resource guide – available as a free download at http://bit.ly/Ebola-preparedness-manual --covers a range of topics, including:
• Emergency management structure
• Clinical guidelines
• Policies and procedures
• Staff education and training
• Communication (internal and external)
• Internal evaluation tools
• External resources
“With more than 10,000 reported cases, including nearly 5,000 deaths worldwide, the current Ebola virus outbreak in Western Africa represents one of the most significant international public health emergencies we have seen in years,” said Michael Dowling, president and chief executive officer of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, which is one of eight hospitals and health systems in New York State designated as Ebola treatment centers. “While experts agree that the chance of a widespread Ebola outbreak in the US and the New York area is unlikely, it’s imperative that caregivers remain vigilant to stop the spread of the infection.”
“Based on our 15 years of experience in preparing for public health crises stemming from natural disasters, terrorism, infectious disease outbreaks, major power outages and other emergencies, we decided to prepare and share an Ebola Preparedness Manual that could serve as a valuable resource to others on the front lines of protecting the public health during this emergency,” Mr. Dowling said.
North Shore-LIJ is nationally recognized for being at the forefront of efforts to protect its employees, patients, visitors and the community-at-large during times of crisis, as evidenced by its preparedness and response efforts during Superstorm Sandy in 2012, when health system facilities admitted about 300 patients evacuated from other New York City and Long Island hospitals, nursing homes and shelters. The health system began formalizing comprehensive disaster preparedness plans before 9-11, and has been refining and testing them ever since.
North Shore-LIJ’s clinical and administrative leadership has put together a robust plan to make certain that any suspected Ebola cases are handled safely, without contaminating health system employees, facilities or other patients. All North Shore-LIJ facilities have established isolation areas in the event they receive a suspected Ebola patient, and the health system has recruited a volunteer team of critical care experts and created a temporary treatment unit at Glen Cove Hospital to provide around-the-clock care to any affected patients.
As a more-permanent solution to improve its preparedness for future infectious disease outbreaks, North Shore-LIJ announced last week it will pursue the development of a biological containment unit, modeled after the University of Nebraska Medicine Biocontainment Patient Care Unit and the Serious Communicable Disease Unit in Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, which have played a vital national role in caring for Ebola patients in recent weeks.
About North Shore-LIJ Health System
One of the nation's largest health systems, North Shore-LIJ delivers world-class clinical care throughout the New York metropolitan area, pioneering research at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, a visionary approach to medical education highlighted by the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, and healthcare coverage to individuals, families and businesses through the CareConnect Insurance Co. Inc. North Shore-LIJ cares for people at every stage of life at 17 hospitals and more than 400 outpatient physician practices throughout the region. North Shore-LIJ’s owned hospitals and long-term care facilities house more than 6,000 beds, employ more than 10,000 nurses and have affiliations with over 9,400 physicians. With a workforce of about 48,000, North Shore-LIJ is the largest private employer in New York State. For more information, go to www.northshorelij.com.