UMass Memorial Medical Center established its Ebola Task Force in late July 2014 to develop comprehensive readiness, education and training programs that help to ensure the safety of our caregivers and patients. Representatives of all areas of the Medical Center comprise the Task Force, which meets regularly to fine tune plans and processes and monitor local, state and federal agency guidelines for the treatment of patients with Ebola virus disease.
Our Ebola treatment protocols meet Centers for Disease Control guidelines -- and in several areas, exceed CDC guidelines -- to protect our employees and patients. Our training program ensures that all caregivers who see and treat ambulatory patients and patients in our hospitals are appropriately trained and provided the proper equipment to do so. Only those caregivers who have received the appropriate advanced training will provide direct care to patients suspected or determined to have Ebola infection.
Employee Ebola Education
Although the majority of our workforce will have no direct contact with patients who have Ebola, at UMass Memorial Medical Center our approach has been to offer education to all employees. We have established ongoing in-person informational forums and electronic learning programs. Infection Control personnel educate members of individual units and departments and are available 24/7 in the event caregivers require assistance. In addition, representatives of all of the hospitals and outpatient clinics in the UMass Memorial Health Care system meet regularly to coordinate our readiness and implementation of screening, diagnosis and care of patients with suspected Ebola virus disease. And, we have strengthened our longstanding relationship with local and state agencies and community groups to together provide ongoing education and resources to the people of Central Massachusetts.
Our preparedness is based on significant and longstanding expertise in infectious disease control found not only within the ranks of our highly skilled clinical caregivers, but also within the programs established by our academic partner, UMass Medical School. Research conducted there is dedicated to understanding a number of infectious diseases, from SARS to tuberculosis to plague, and has reinforced our care protocols for the treatment of Ebola virus disease. For example, the Medical School’s simulation center is the site for advanced training of our caregivers in not only donning and doffing personal protection equipment (PPE), but also in working effectively in PPE to deliver the highest quality patient care, safely.