Ebola has the potential to be a real chink in the armor for patient safety. Here are some of my thoughts
1. anyone currently thinking of becoming a doctor or nurse is totally rethinking that decision right now. I am afraid we will end up with the worst HCW shortage the US has ever seen
2. That said, hospitals better start working on having an ageless workplace so their current staff can continue working past retirement age
3. IF current PPE has major limitations, working conditions are about to deteriorate. IT is very difficult to care for a patient in full hazardous material garb
4. Current guidelines for ebola recommend limiting the number of people entering an ebola patient’s room. Where does this leave all of our double check processes?
5. Taking off PPE is very challenging. Breaching infection control protocol during this is actually easy to do. We are going to need HCW monitored during the removal process. No institution has the funds to introduce a flood of new workers into the system. If so they will likely try to do this with non-professionals who might not have the same level of understanding of infection control no matter how much training they receive.
One bright spot: current health care environments are focused on financials such as cutting workers, encouraging multitasking, prioritizing efficiency over safety..
Ebola is chance to slow things down, go back to prioritizing safety..allow time for staff to think..and support each other.. make adjustments to facilitate an ageless workplace-its good for your older employees but also for all. And many times whats safe for healthcare workers is also safe for patients and vice versa
Often times when a person gets an illness like cancer, they call it their wake up call to stop spinning and start slowing down and paying attention to life and quality. Ebola is the healthcare systems’ wake up call..