Safety, Community Come First When Dealing with Ebola

The recent Ebola outbreak in western Africa claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people and affected countless others. Its spread highlights the need for specialized infectious disease management abroad and close to home.

With this in mind, North Shore-LIJ Health System developed the new specialized treatment center at Glen Cove Hospital to safely care for patients who have Ebola or other highly contagious diseases, such as SARS, tuberculosis or smallpox.

A Perfect Fit

The Ebola treatment center is housed in a secure part of the hospital accessible by a private ambulance bay. Patients who are admitted do not pass through the hospital, reducing the possibilities of transmitting the disease.

“The safety and well-being of patients, their caretakers and the community were our top priorities when planning the unit,” said Susan Kwiatek, DNP, executive director of Glen Cove Hospital. “We’ve met or exceeded safety protocols set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and collaborated with leaders in infectious disease to create a secure environment for care.”

Attention to detail sets this unit apart. Safety equipment both protects health care workers and keeps them comfortable while engaged in patient care, and anyone who works in the unit can remain on-site if needed for the required 21-day quarantine period to further reduce the risk of spreading the disease.

Patients benefit from amenities too. Anyone admitted to the Ebola treatment center is given an iPad to use for apps, games and Skype. The device is provided to help patients stay active and keep in touch with loved ones.

The Dream Team

All personnel qualified to work in the isolation unit are volunteers from Glen Cove Hospital and other North Shore-LIJ Health System facilities. Extensive on-going training for volunteer nurses and doctors helps keep them prepared for every eventuality they might face if an Ebola patient is admitted to the hospital.

“Volunteers specialize in pediatrics, obstetrics, cardiovascular health and other areas of medicine,” said Darlene Parmentier, RN, director of patient care services. “As part of North Shore-LIJ Health System, we’re also connected to a broad network of medical professionals who can be reached via telemedicine or brought in to consult once they are trained.”

Did You Know?

The new $2 million isolation unit at Glen Cove Hospital is the only site on Long Island recognized by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an Ebola treatment center.

Focus onHealth TV

Watch Focus onHealth, Northwell Health's TV show. It's the healthy way to stay informed!