Salem Hospital holds Ebola drill using updated CDC guidelines

Oct 24, 2014

Salem Hospital staff and employees took part in an Ebola drill in the emergency department on Thursday, Oct. 23.

The participants practiced putting on personal protective equipment using the latest recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control as of Oct. 20. The new CDC recommendations involve caregivers covering all exposed skin. The regimen now includes wearing longer gloves and leg coverings, plus a hood with a different air source.

“The overall risk of having a true Ebola case in Salem is very low,” said Cort Garrison, MD, interim chief medical officer and chief information office for Salem Health. “We’re doing everything in our power to not only take care of a patient if they present to Salem Health, but also protect our staff and employees to exposure to a potentially deadly virus.”

“We have a dedicated training team,” said Garrison. “We have everybody cooperating in a spirit where we want to do this right and to the best of our capabilities. If next week we have different recommendations, then we will retrain to those recommendations.”

The training team worked with a total of 84 people in two days. The hospital is conducting the training sessions in phases for key staffers. Phase one prioritized the emergency room and ancillary services—including 49 staff nurses, 12 emergency physicians, 9 environmental services staffers, 5 imaging employees, 5 patient transporters, 3 respiratory therapists—and one member of the hospital’s rapid response team, which covers the emergency room and the rest of the campus, as a backup.

“We’re making sure that a sufficient number of people are trained, that no one individual has to be put in harm’s way that’s not trained,” said Garrison.

Make sure to watch the video Salem Health produced about the Ebola drill.

Salem Hospital is part of Salem Health, along with West Valley Hospital, Willamette Health Partners and other affiliated health care organizations offering exceptional care to people in and around Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley. Salem Hospital received the Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence™ from Healthgrades in 2014, placing it among the top 5 percent of more than 4,500 hospitals nationwide. “Like” us on Facebook; follow us on Twitter; and view us at YouTube.

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