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Ebola: Protocols for Handling Patient Calls and Concerns
With the death of the first victim in Dallas, and now two healthcare workers being treated for the virus, the nation is growing concerned about our ability to contain Ebola. While the United States is well equipped with supplies and the hospitals to handle this infection, protocols and knowledge play an important role.
Although Ebola is a deadly virus, it is not nearly as contagious as Measles or Flu, which are much more common in the United States. According to Nadia Drake (2014) of Wired.com, “Scientists estimate that one person infected with measles can transmit the disease to as many as 18 others; for Ebola, that number is around two.”
Unlike the Flu and other illnesses, Ebola does not travel through the air. Ebola is transmitted through bodily fluid such as saliva or vomit. Until symptoms are present, Ebola is not contagious.
However, it is important to note that Ebola is deadly with an average fatality rate of 50%. Early symptoms mimic the flu, but increase in severity. While the virus attacks the immune system and organs, victims suffer from hemorrhagic fever, bloody diarrhea, and vomit. “Usually, it’s a deadly combination of abyssal blood pressure, electrolyte imbalance, and organ failure that delivers the final blow” (Drake, 2014).
As concerns heighten, physicians and healthcare facilities are likely to experience an increase in patient call volume. Dr. Schmitt and Dr. Thompson developed a telephone triage guideline for Ebola Exposure. Anticipating the need for these protocols, TriageLogic promptly uploaded the guidelines for each of their call center and Nurse Triage on Call™ clients the week they became available. Triagelogic also provided this information to their MyTriageChecklist™ clients.
The recent Ebola cases in the United States are yet another testament to the importance of having standardized protocols from a credible source. During widespread public health concerns, standardized protocols improve patient care.
Drake, N. (2014, Oct 3). Ebola Explained: What You Should and Shouldn’t Worry
About. The Wired. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/2014/10/ebola-virus-infection-transmission-death-explained/