At Martha Jefferson Hospital, as well as across the Sentara system, work is being done to diligently prepare for the possibility of caring for Ebola patients. We are taking very seriously our commitment to always keep you safe, and we are taking every available precaution.
Our goal is zero Ebola exposures (team member, patients, family members, vendors, volunteers, etc.) We believe information, training, and practice are key to protecting our teams.
Update October 28, 2014
Two Sentara hospitals chosen as centralized Ebola treatment sites. Read more
Update October 22, 2014
The Virginia Department of Health has opened an Ebola Hotline to answer general questions about Ebola 24 hours per day, seven days per week. The number is 1-877-ASK-VDH3 (I-877-275-8343).
Frequently asked questions are updated daily on the Virginia Department of Health website
Sentara’s preparedness efforts to date include the following:
Following national, state and local guidance
Sentara is actively following the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is in constant contact with state and local departments of health. As CDC guidance is updated, we are providing updates to our teams. Because information can change as events unfold, we also are learning from others’ first-hand experience and are adopting industry best practices as quickly as possible.
Centralized System-wide Team
Sentara formed a system-wide Sentara Ebola Taskforce to centralize efforts to prepare, educate and train for the possibility of Ebola appearing in our communities. The multidisciplinary team is chaired by and includes community infectious disease physicians and specialists who are managing Sentara preparations, training and response. Sentara leadership at every level is engaged in preparations.
Routine updates provided to clinicians
Sentara is providing frequent updates and guidance to physicians and clinical teams. We are confident our staff is aware of the symptoms of Ebola and the importance of understanding travel to, or contact with those who have traveled to, West African nations as part of the patient evaluation process. Staff is trained to pay close attention in assessing patients through in person evaluation, reinforced by robust system generated alerts and updates.
Education and Training
We are proactively educating every clinician and worker across the system who may be involved in the diagnosis and care of potential Ebola patients on the proven measures for preventing the spread of infectious disease. Every Sentara division is participating in exercises to practice its readiness. This includes not only clinical personnel, but those in locations that would be the first to encounter a potential patient with Ebola. Our teams are prepared to take the proper precautions, such as wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when diagnosing and treating a potential Ebola patient. Staff is receiving enhanced training on putting on and taking off PPE through the Nebraska Model for PPE, which exceeds CDC minimum requirements.
We have posted signs in all public facility entrances (physician practices, emergency departments/urgent care centers, etc.) asking potential Ebola patients to identify themselves, based on the evaluation algorithm and checklist provided by the CDC. Front-line staff is prepared to take appropriate steps and call for clinical assistance immediately in the event a visitor or patients meet assessment criteria.
Partnership with EMS service and community agencies
In all the communities we serve, we are working with our community partners to ensure rapid assessment and identification of potential Ebola patients. Working together we can keep our communities safe.
If you have traveled to an Ebola-affected area of the world in the past 21 days (Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone) and you are experiencing fever equal to or greater than 100.4 F, severe headache, weakness, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain or unexplained bleeding, DO NOT MAKE A CLINIC OR PHYSICIAN VISIT APPOINTMENT. Instead, call the nearest hospital emergency room and receive instructions before going there.
As this situation evolves, we will continue to keep you updated on our efforts. You can log on to www.sentara.com
for the most up-to-date information.
We appreciate your ongoing support and your confidence in Sentara to do our very best to keep staff, patients and the communities we serve safe from the spread of the Ebola virus.
Scott A. Miller, MD, FACP
Vice President, Medical Affairs
Sentara Leigh Hospital