In the wake of recent events, including the transmission of Ebola to two registered nurses who cared for an infected patient in Dallas, the American Nurses Association (ANA) has been calling on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue clear, concrete guidelines, in particular about the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), to ensure the safety of healthcare professionals and the public.
The CDC previewed revised PPE recommendations tonight on a teleconference. Officials indicated the full guidelines would be posted on the CDC website soon. Changes that were highlighted on the call include:
• Prior to working with Ebola patients, healthcare professionals need to engage in repeated hands-on training and demonstrate competence in putting on and removing PPE
• Use of full PPE with no skin exposure
• Implementation of a system where at all times a trained supervisor observes and documents the putting on and removing of PPE
ANA will conduct a detailed review of the revised guidelines and provide feedback to the CDC; however, upon initial review, ANA president Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, said, "We are appreciative that the CDC has responded to nurses and healthcare professionals nationwide and acknowledged the need for clear, consistent guidelines for those caring for Ebola patients to ensure the highest levels of care and protection for patients and healthcare professionals."
She adds, "Today's guidance moves us forward; it is consistent with ANA's recommendations that healthcare organizations adopt PPE standards that have been demonstrated to provide effective protection for nurses and other healthcare professionals in the clinical setting when caring for confirmed Ebola patients, such as those used by Doctors Without Borders and the protocols developed by Emory University Hospital and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. ANA plans to disseminate and provide education about these best practices and protocols. Further, ANA believes that a solution-oriented, collaborative approach that includes interprofessional, state and federal organizations is essential to preventing any spread of Ebola and managing care of infected patients effectively in the United States."
She continues, ""As the Ebola situation continues to evolve, we commend nurses and other members of the healthcare team for their vigilance, dedication and commitment to providing excellent care to all patients. We also send our sincere wishes for a swift and full recovery to nurses Pham and Vinson. We remain steadfast in supporting the two nurses, their families, colleagues and communities."