In response to the ongoing threat of the Ebola Virus Disease (“EVD” or “Ebola”) and the increased risk of individuals traveling from the affected countries to the United States, The Joint Commission recently launched an Ebola Preparedness Resources portal on its website. The portal contains information addressing various safety actions for health care providers to consider, such as ensuring that all staff and clinicians who may come in contact with Ebola patients are educated and trained on Ebola guidance, re-evaluating infection control plans to ensure proper guidelines and requirements, and reviewing emergency operations plans. While stressing that The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention remains the primary source of information regarding Ebola, The Joint Commission has provided these resources in response to providers’ expectations of guidance, and also has seized the opportunity to stress to its accredited providers the importance of having adequate infection control procedures in place, a condition required of all Joint Commission accredited facilities.
Amid the uncertainty and threat of Ebola there has emerged a renewed focus by hospitals, as well as other types of health care providers, on thinking about the best ways to handle infectious disease cases safely. Using the momentum created by the current Ebola crisis, providers should also look to the variety of Joint Commission Standards for Managing Ebola Patients to help safely and effectively manage infectious Ebola patients if any cases present themselves.