Ebola: Clinical Staff Information
Staff should screen all patients for Ebola at all access points according to Epic protocol, which will launch when a patient chart is opened. If you are not on Epic, screen according to the same guidelines, by paper. If the patient's symptoms are consistent
with Ebola and they have traveled to a CDC-identified country with widespread Ebola transmission in the last 21 days or may have had contact with an EVD-infected individual within the last 21 days of illness onset, and do the following:
- Isolate the patient - Place patient in private room and initiate Standard, Contact and Droplet precautions.
- Use full PPE - Please refer to Policy 4.01 – Infection Control for the Care of Patients with Diagnosed or Suspected Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) for details (scroll to bottom of Healthcare Epidemiology policies in the new window).
Call Healthcare Epidemiology with any questions.
- Immediately contact Healthcare Epidemiology - Immediately page Healthcare Epidemiology at 409-643-3133 (24/7). The Infection Preventionist on call will notify the Healthcare Epidemiologist, the Galveston County Health Department,
and the Administrator on Call. The department phone number is 409-772-3192. Healthcare Epidemiology will instruct you on to how to proceed.
Symptoms specific to Ebola infection, a nonspecific infection that typically begins similar to influenza-like illness, may include:
- Joint and muscle pain
- Weakness / malaise
- Stomach pain
- Lack of appetite
- Additional Early signs
- Fever (usually ≥ 100.4ºF)
- Rash (nonpruritic, maculopapular on upper body during the first week)
- Red eyes (conjunctival hemorrhages)
- Cough (non-productive and pharyngitis may also be present)
- Additional Later signs:
- External bleeding (easy bruising, failure of venipuncture sites to clot)
- Internal bleeding
UTMB’s protocol for the identification, isolation and care for patients that might present to our facilities can be found in Policy 4.01 – Infection Control for the Care of Patients with Diagnosed or Suspected Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
The instructions included in the policy document are informed by our own experts, CDC guidelines, and expertise from other facilities (including existing bio-containment patient care units) that have treated an Ebola patient.
engaged in the preparation for patient care of a suspected EVD patient or patient diagnosed with EVD at UTMB includes representation from many UTMB departments, including Infectious Disease, Healthcare Epidemiology, the Galveston National Lab, Pathology,
Pulmonary Critical Care, Nursing, Campus Police, Communications and Administration. We have developed protocols, processes and training collaboratively with the safety of our healthcare workers and our employees as a top priority. Particular emphasis
for training will be first with those who will be in direct care contact with such a patient; those will screen patients in our clinics and by phone. Other care areas should continue to use their PPE as previously trained. Particular emphasis for
training will be first with those who will be in direct care contact with such a patient; those will screen patients in our clinics and by phone. Other care areas should continue to use their PPE as previously trained.
Protecting the privacy of patient, student, and employee information is an important responsibility facing not only UTMB but all organizations entrusted with confidential information. HIPAA standards are exactly the same for an EVD patient as any other
patient. The identity of any healthcare worker or staff member involved in or related to the care of and EVD-infected patient should be kept confidential as well.
Protected Health Information (PHI) is identifiable health information transmitted
or maintained in any form or medium, including verbal discussions, written communications, or electronic communications with or about patients. PHI is private and limited to those who need the information for Treatment, Payment, and Healthcare Operations
(TPO). Only those people who are authorized to use and disclose PHI should have access to PHI. Remember:
- Accessing and disclosing of PHI must only be done in the course of your job responsibilities.
- All use and disclosure of PHI must be limited to the minimum necessary to complete the task.
- There are both UTMB and Federal penalties for HIPAA violations to the individual and the institution.
- Proper handling and storage of PHI is required.
- Photos or images of patients are considered PHI and should not be taken unless they comply with UTMB policy.
- All personnel must strictly observe standards relating to disposal of PHI.
- HIPAA guidelines must be followed even if you, as an employee, are assisting with or involved in the care of your family member or members.
- Failure to comply with HIPAA also violates UTMB policies. Any employee who violates these policies may be subject to disciplinary action, which may include: verbal warnings, written warnings, suspension or termination.