HHS Conference Call Discusses Ebola-Related Issues
November 21, 2014 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance
In long-term care organizations, staff or others who have traveled to Ebola-affected countries or been exposed to someone with Ebola would undergo temperature and symptom monitoring by public health authorities, said Arjun Srinivasan, MD (CAPT, USPHS), associate director, healthcare-associated infection prevention programs, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), during a November 10, 2014, conference call with other leaders from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The call focused on guidance for ambulatory settings, elements of which may apply to long-term care or other aging services settings. Active symptom monitoring means that public health departments generally know which individuals are at risk and how to route them for care should symptoms arise. If an individual has symptoms and risk factors, the strategy is to "identify, isolate, and inform," as outlined in CDC's algorithm for ambulatory care. The provider should isolate the individual immediately (e.g., by putting him or her in a private room and closing the door). "Your next immediate step is to inform public health," said Srinivasan. However, "we don't recommend that you try to evaluate and provide care" to the individual.