NEW HYDE PARK, NY – In light of cases of the Ebola virus popping up in various places across the world, the North Shore-LIJ Health System is taking steps to ensure the safety of its patients and employees.
“When patients come through our emergency departments, the first place that they report to is a triage area,” explains Donna Armellino, DNP, vice president of infection prevention at the North Shore-LIJ Health System. “Within the triage area, there is an interview with the patient. Querying travel history is one of the key questions that is asked of the patients as well as identifying signs and symptoms that the patient is presenting with.”
With patients who have a significant history of travel to West Africa, where there are several cases of Ebola, and people who have symptoms of the virus including fever, weakness, red eyes and bleeding, the patient would immediately be placed on precautions.
“When we talk about precautions, it is droplet and contact precautions,” Dr. Armellino says. “From a healthcare worker perspective, that means they need to wear protective barriers. It would be a regular mask as well as a gown that is impervious, meaning fluids could not penetrate the gown, as well as gloves. In situations where there may be increased blood or secretions from the patient, then we would have the healthcare workers don a higher level of barrier precautions and that may be an impervious jumpsuit, which we do have available in the triage area.”
To date, there are no people with Ebola being treated at any North Shore-LIJ facilities.