Hospitals train employees for infectious disease management as a way to prevent those diseases from spreading beyond the hospital doors and affecting those in the community. As the Ebola virus made its way to the United States, many patients found themselves interested in learning more about what hospitals and other medical facilities do to protect them. Patients can rest assured that those facilities will go above and beyond to both protect them and protect anyone working or visiting that facility.
There are a few procedures that hospitals use to ensure that diseases brought in by patients do not spread throughout that hospital. One of those procedures relates to proper hygiene. Every medical worker dealing with an infected patient wears some type of eyeglasses or eyewear, a mask that covers the mouth and nose, a gown over their regular clothing and gloves. Immediately after working with a patient, the nurse will stop at the door and remove everything except for the eyewear and dispose of those items in a sealed container. He or she must then remove the eyewear and wash his or her hands properly.
Educating Employees on Symptoms and Signs
One way that hospitals train employees for infectious disease management is through education. Even before an infectious disease strikes the community, doctors and nurses learn how to identify the symptoms of different communicable diseases. Many hospitals pass out memos that alert workers of new information and paperwork that lets them know which diseases they need to be aware of when working in the hospital. Some medical facilities also hold monthly or weekly meetings to discuss current topics and ensure that workers remain up to date on different types of infectious diseases.
Using Isolation Rooms
Doctors and nurses working in both larger and smaller hospitals must understand the importance of using isolation rooms, including when to use those rooms and how those rooms work. An isolation room is essentially a room set aside from other patients that has its own set of protocols and regulations. Only certain medical professionals can gain access to that room, and they must agree to follow those requirements. When a patient comes into the hospital, the staff can look for signs of any infectious disease and move that patient immediately into an isolation room to cut down on the risk of that patient infecting others.
Review of Established Protocols
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hospitals train employees for infectious disease management through a constant review of established protocols. Those protocols include reviewing emergency preparation plans and establishing point of contacts with the community. Point of contacts refer to those who agree to speak on television, give interviews to the local television stations and host community meetings to alert the public of an infected patient. Hospitals must also go over the established protocols to ensure that the facilities use the protocols established by the CDC to protect the community at large.
Related Resource: Become a Patient Advocate
A single patient with a series communicable disease can infect any patients or hospital workers that he or she comes into contact with after checking into the hospital. It's important that hospitals know what to do to stop the spread of that infection. Hospitals train employees for infectious disease management in several ways, including educating them on proper hygiene and establishing and following specific regulations and protocols.