The Response Capability of Designated Special Pathogen Assessment and Treatment Centers: Staffing a Major Health Incident

Carpenter, Richard, Nursing Practice - School of Nursing, University of Virginia
Friberg, Elizabeth, School of Nursing, University of Virginia

Healthcare has had several experiences with epidemics in the last century. While most of the diseases associated with these epidemics are infectious, highly contagious without proper precautions, and sometimes untreatable with current treatment, few have generated the challenges associated with Ebola virus disease (EVD). The challenges are especially problematic related to the geographic location of the disease, its virulence, the high case fatality rate, and the rapidity with which the disease can spread. Recent developments with vaccines have helped control the continued threat from EVD, but many other special or unique pathogens still exist. Much of the literature is devoted to the epidemiologic aspects of the diseases: treatment, spread, and eradication. Until recently little was written about how treatment facilities should prepare for the spread of these diseases into areas of the world that so far have been unaffected. The clinical management requires highly specialized training, equipment, and physical facilities to ensure safe and efficient care for this population. Assessment and treatment hospitals have been challenged to develop and implement detailed staffing plans for Ebola and other special pathogens. This project used a descriptive comparative design to evaluate response capability by reviewing the staffing plans of two treatment and six assessment hospitals in the Commonwealth of Virginia to determine the similarities and differences among the designated centers. Each staffing plan was reviewed to determine to what extent recommended characteristics for staffing, as outlined by the 2014 CDC interim guidance, were included in each plan as well as characteristics specific to each center.

Keywords: Ebola, designated assessment and treatment hospitals, special pathogen preparednes

DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
special pathogen preparedness
Issued Date: