Health Team

WakeMed continues refining protocols in case of Ebola threat

Posted October 16, 2014 6:50 p.m. EDT
Updated October 16, 2014 7:04 p.m. EDT

— The spread of Ebola to two Dallas nurses has raised concern among hospital staffs across the country, including North Carolina.

Barbara Bissett, executive director of the Emergency Services Institute at WakeMed in Raleigh, said Thursday that the hospital is taking infection control errors at the Texas hospital and turning them into learning opportunities in case staff at WakeMed has to treat a patient with the virus.

The hospital now holds two Ebola-related training sessions every week and modifies procedures based on what other hospitals are learning and doing in attempts to treat and prepare to treat Ebola.

Bissett said hospitals around the state and country are in regular contact with one another, sharing their training experiences and ideas.

"It is extremely important that we know that procedures are done exactly right," she said.

Bissett said there's a greater focus on following protocol to the letter - especially when putting on and taking off protective equipment.

In the wake of the latest Ebola cases, staff are training with extra layers of protective gear, such as gloves and boots, that are first removed in a containment area before they remove their protective suits.

"To safely get out of it can take 15 to 30 minutes to do it right," Bissett said. "So, we're trying to be very, very methodical in how we do that."

That's not the only major concern.

"We really have to think about that situation of when the patient first presents to our organization and how we get staff immediately protected," Bissett said.

None of WakeMed's staff members felt comfortable talking Thursday about their personal concerns for safety or how much the weekly training might boost their confidence.

They do, however, have the advantage of time to learn before, or if, the infection threat becomes real.