Though the risk of a patient being diagnosed with Ebola in Kittitas County is very low, Kittitas Valley Healthcare has begun formalizing its preparation for the disease.
KVH initiated a standardized structure for managing and responding to larger-scale events on October 20. This structure, called Incident Command, has been employed at KVH only three times in the past two years.
Even before the standardized structure was implemented, KVH has been working closely with Kittitas County Public Health Department and the Washington State Hospital Association to ensure that it is ready to care for patients who are suspected of having Ebola and protect its employees.
However, by formalizing its readiness preparation, KVH joins the leading health care organizations and local health jurisdictions statewide. Much of the preparation will focus on re-training staff about the use personal protective equipment.
“A complete re-training on how to properly use personal protective equipment is recommended for all health care workers,” according to Julie Hiersche, KVH Infection Control and Employee Health Coordinator. “There are some recommendations on personal protective equipment that are specific to Ebola, but the majority of our training will be reinforcement of what our employees are doing every day.”
Training will include staff at KVH Hospital, all KVH clinics, and other KVH services. KVH has over 300 employees who regularly come into contact with patients and will be included in re-training efforts.
Several community partners attended the first official Incident Command meeting. Representatives of Kittitas County Public Health Department, Kittitas Valley Fire and Rescue, Upper Kittitas County Medic One, and Central Washington University’s Student Medical and Counseling Clinic attended.