Report deems Ebola preparedness in many hospitals inadequate: 10 things to know

Preparedness levels in institutions around the world for managing suspect cases of the Ebola virus is often not adequate, according to a new report in the journal Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection.

The International Society of Chemotherapy Infection Control Working Group created the Ebola Infection Control Readiness Checklist and distributed it to 192 healthcare workers at 125 hospitals in 45 countries around the world. Fifty-four percent of respondents indicated that their hospitals would handle Ebola cases while the rest would transfer the cases to specialized centers.

Here are 10 key findings from the survey.

1. Nearly 20 percent of healthcare worker respondents felt the surveillance systems and notification processes that follow the identification of a suspected Ebola case were "still a work in progress," while 13 percent said this was something for which "action was needed."

2. Aids such as visual tools, videos, personal protective equipment and teaching posters were disseminated in 38 percent of hospitals, while 36 percent said the distribution process was in progress and 22 percent reported action was needed.

3. Internal communication mechanisms to provide regular updates to healthcare workers are in place in 55 percent of hospitals, while 24 percent said action was still needed.

4. Of hospitals that plan to manage Ebola cases, 49 percent conduct regular in-house training to test that necessary systems are put in place, while 22 percent reported this had not been implemented and 24 percent responded that implementation was in progress.

5. Training was conducted to ensure healthcare workers' competency and safety in personal protective equipment procedures in 57 percent of admitting hospitals, while 22 percent reported working on implementing these procedures and 18 percent lacked them altogether.

6. Only 20 percent of hospitals have plans in place to support healthcare workers with temporary accommodations during an outbreak or quarantine. Action is needed in 48 percent of hospitals.

7. Psychological support provisions for medical professionals exposed to suspected cases of Ebola was in place in 23 percent of hospitals and 58 percent reported needing to take action to implement such provisions.

8. In hospitals that would admit Ebola patients for treatment, 30 percent reported using fit test for the N95 respirator. Action was needed for 33 percent and 30 percent said it was in progress.

9. Regular checks for proper usage of personal protective equipment items were reported by 54 percent of hospitals.

10. A policy in place for the safe management of a patient following death was reported by 48 percent of hospitals while 29 percent reported requiring action.

More articles on infection control:

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