The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) has been working with the CDC and the Emergency Nurses Association to establish procedures to help emergency personnel evaluate and manage emergency patients suspected of possible Ebola infection. The CDC published the new guidelines for emergency departments during ACEP’s annual meeting where experts from across the country are meeting to discuss key issues, including Ebola.
The new guidelines, an Ebola management algorithm, can be found and printed here.
The guidelines were evaluated and approved by a panel of experts—consisting of emergency physicians and emergency nurses with expertise in infectious disease and disaster preparedness—appointed by ACEP’s president.
“It’s critical to protect the emergency medical staff who are on the front lines of caring for patients who may have Ebola,” said Alex Rosenau, MD, FACEP, immediate past president of ACEP. “They are the ones most at risk for contamination, because they come in direct contact with the patient, as demonstrated by the infections of the nurses in Dallas and the recent case of the emergency physician in New York. On behalf of our 34,000 members, we are so grateful for the recovery of the nurses and we are optimistic that Dr. Spencer will recover as well. ”
The CDC guidelines include advice for:
♦ Assessing patients, including those for whom travel histories are unavailable (for example, when patient s are unconscious).
♦ Putting on (donning) and removing (doffing) of personal protective equipment (PPE).
♦ Managing and isolating patients who may have Ebola.
♦ Informing hospital personnel and other authorities about possible infection.
♦ Providing direct observation of health care workers during the donning and doffing processes for PPE.
“ACEP’s Ebola panel of experts are dedicated to providing expertise to help emergency care workers and the emergency patients they serve,” said Stephen Cantrill, MD, FACEP, chair of ACEP’s panel. “The new guidelines provided needed direction and drill down on specific situations to safely and effectively manage patients suspected of Ebola.”
ACEP is the national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies.