October 14, 2014

Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment Plans in Place

Sumner Regional Medical Center is prepared to screen, assist with diagnosis, and treat potential patients presenting with symptoms of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), the hospital’s  Chief Executive Officer Susan Peach announced today.  


“The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state health agencies have provided hospitals with education about the virus for our staff and physicians, screening criteria to identify anyone who may be infected, and instructions about how to assist with the diagnosis and care of patients who present with symptoms of the virus,” said Peach, RN, BSN, MBA.  “While the Tennessee Department of Health has assured us there are no confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola Virus Disease in Tennessee, it is important that we be prepared to identify, assist with diagnosis, treat and stop the spread of Ebola Virus Disease if it presents to our hospital.”


A team of clinicians, infection control staff and other representatives of the hospital have been meeting in recent weeks and reviewing all information provided by the CDC and has prepared educational materials and treatment protocols for staff.  Screening criteria recommended by the CDC have also been implemented throughout the hospital, and patients are being screened by staff at all entry points to the hospital, which includes questioning each patient’s travel history and evaluating the presence of symptoms of the virus.


Training has taken place with staff on the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and a table-top preparedness exercise is also scheduled to ensure staff is fully prepared to identify, isolate and care for any infected patients, and to report the illness to infection prevention and public health officials, as required, to stop any further spread of infection.


SRMC staff participates in Ebola Virus Disease education and preparedness exercises.


As full time medical director of Sumner Hospice, Dr. August sees patients in their homes within 15 days of admission, and periodically thereafter.  She also provides 24-hour consultant care for all Hospice patients, including home visits if needed for symptom management, and provides daily visits to Sumner Hospice’s inpatients.


“Hospice provides care and emotional support to patients and families during a difficult time in their lives.  At Sumner Hospice, we’re already a part of their community; we can bring that care closer to home,” said Dr. August. “I consider myself lucky to be joining such a wonderfully capable and experienced staff.”

Here are some important facts about Ebola provided by the CDC:

  • It can't be spread by a person before he or she exhibits symptoms.
  • It is only spread by direct contact with infected blood or body fluids from a sick person or grossly contaminated objects (like needles).
  • It is not spread in the air, it is not spread in water, and it is not spread by mosquitoes or insects. It is not generally spread by food.
  • The incubation period is two to 21 days. Most patients develop symptoms eight to 10 days following exposure.
  • Health care workers, family and friends of Ebola patients are most at risk.
  • Risk can be controlled by isolation of patients and careful attention to use of simple protections like gowns, goggles, masks and gloves.
  • Ebola cannot live long outside the human body. It is easily killed by common sanitizers.

  • “We will respond appropriately, should we need to,” said Peach.  “We care for patients with infectious diseases daily and have the equipment and knowledge on hand to respond. We will coordinate with public health authorities on any diagnosis and treatment plans if the situation presents itself at Sumner Regional. We have made a special effort to educate key areas on this significant development and will remain alert.”


    Sumner Regional Medical Center also offers the following tips for preventing infectious viruses, like EVD.  Basic infection control procedures and good hygiene can prevent infection. Just like any other virus, EVD can be prevented by:

  • Avoiding contact with people who are sick or display signs and symptoms that indicate illness, including sharing food, cups or eating utensils;
  • Washing your hands frequently – or, if soap and water aren’t available, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol;
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Disinfecting your home and belongings regularly; and
  • Covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, using a tissue or your sleeve or elbow (not your hands).

  • Because Ebola virus has similar symptoms as the flu, an annual flu vaccine can be effective in preventing infection, and is highly recommended. In fact, the CDC recommends that everyone from children age six months to adults have an annual flu vaccination.



    About Sumner Regional Medical Center

    Sumner Regional Medical Center, a progressive, 155-bed acute care facility in Gallatin, Tenn., is the flagship hospital of HighPoint Health System.  The hospital offers a full range of emergency, diagnostic, surgical, women’s, pediatric and rehabilitative services and has been serving the communities of Sumner County and beyond for more than 50 years. To learn more, visit www.MySumnerMedical.com.


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