Monday, October 20, 2014

Understanding health isolation and precautions

We hear a lot about isolation and precautions with
contagious disease, with Ebola in the news.
And many wonder what happen in Texas, why did
it happen.

They had a doctor and a nurse shipped from Africa to
United States.  If you saw the news when that happen,
you saw how they treated those two people.  They came
in almost a bubble wrap. In the plane, on the gurney as
they were taken to the hospital where they were treated.
And so were the workers.
Both survived.

So what happen in Texas?  The answer .. everything...
everything wrong.  First the Dr. and nurse were already
diagnosed with Ebola. So everyone was alerted as they
arrived in the United States.  Also the hospital they arrived
in, was CDC associated.  CDC = Center for Disease Control.
The CDC has years of experience with treating very
contagious diseases.  They have the isolation routine
down pat, they have the extreme isolation.

Texas on the other hand, first messed up with the
not following thru with the man, who stated he was
just from Africa.
I am sure that person has paid dearly for the mess up.
Next, what was their procedure? I am sure they did
do at least Universal Code of isolation.  But that is not
enough. All of which they have since found out.
Had this happen say 3 weeks later, they might have
been on board.. but then again.. who knows.

See when I worked in the nursing home.. we knew the
Universal Code. We practice it over and over. But it is
no where enough for Ebola.

To start off, when I first went to work in 1986, we didn't
even use gloves. Because we washed our hand constantly.
We washed our hands when we went into the room, and
we washed them before we left the room.  We had a cleanser
that we also used that killed germs.  Much like the wipes
they sell now days.

But then along came AIDS.  Then we went for classes.
Constant updates classes.  It depend on what was needed.
Some times it was just a mask.  BUT ALWAYS GLOVES.
Then with AIDS we were trained to use gloves, mask,
a paper cover for our bodies(gown) that was tied in the back.
And sometimes even paper shoe covers.  Some of it
depended on the patient (resident, in our case). If we
were protecting them from what ever we may be carrying
in, on our shoes, our clothing, and etc.  Other times it
was to protect us, from what ever they had, so we did
not take it to other residents, co-workers or our families,
or ourselves.

Then along came MRSA..  which had no defense as it was
mostly from an over use of penicillin. Also others. But it
was arm and dangerous with nothing to kill it. And higly

Also it isn't just the gowning up, and gloves and mask and
booties... it was the taking it off.  And you took it all off
at the door. With another aide who had a bag there waiting.
You put your booties in the bag you have. Then reversing the
gown, so not to touch the outside of that gown. Balling it
up and into the bag. Next the mask... and last the gloves.
You tied the bag up, and then put it into the red bag that
the other aide has waiting.. them holding it with gloves on.
Then it was taken to a restricted area.  Hazard waste area.

Now with Ebola.. you have to do something very similar. But
more so. They have someone help you put on the gown,
booties, mask and gloves. The mask is more than just one for
your face. It has a full over your head, down shoulder length cover.
The person helping you, tapes the wrist area where the gown sleeve meets
the glove. The booties are higher and they are taped to the pants that
goes along with the gown.  Some have booties in the pants, much like
the ones that toddlers pjs are.  NO SKIN SHOWS...  And then you
walk into the room that has the person in it.  Everything in there is
considered hazard waste. All are put in a red bag. And removed each
shift by the last one out of that room.  The removal is like what I stated
up above. With a helper. All double bagged. Second bag is red.. with
the hazard waste icon on it.  There is someone there making sure you
do it exact. Some hospitals have an external middle room between
the room and where every one exits.

Had Texas had that in place, it would have helped a lot and the two
nurses would not be where they are now.

While I would love to tell you, that they work every time....
I can't tell you that. With the scare like it is now.. you probably
have a 99.9% chance it is done right.

But in time.. people get careless. Some don't  follow the code exactly. And
that causes problems. Which is probably the best guess they are the 2%.
but if they are caught.. they can be fired.

As long as we have this on the front burner, in HIGH ALERT, you have
the 99.9% working for you.  The hospitals are on top of this. They don't
want their reputation ruin.

But in the meantime.. with cold season here, which by the way.. has
kill far more people per year, than all of the victims of Ebola over the
years.  So when you are at the grocery store.. use the wipes they
provide.. if they are out, complain.  Wash your hands, wash your
hands.. did you understand what I said.. WASH YOUR HANDS.

Wipe any phone you share with anyone.. family or not... wipe the
door knobs if you can.. carry the little bottle of anti fungus with
you or the wipes.. wipe your hands after touching anything that
is in contact with your office personal.  There are people who
will come to work sick or not... don't want to lose the money.

And if you think that is crazy?  Well we use to put up a sign on
the door of the nursing home each year... "if you have the symptoms
of a cold or flu, please visit at another time."   Yet when we workers
called in because of the same.. we were questioned.. are you sure
you are sick.. surely you can take some cold meds and come in.
Or if you were at work, you were told, surely you can finish your
shift.  Because we were always short staff during cold season.
And I am guilty as charged.. as long as I was walking, I was
working.   We even had a nurse tell a worker on the phone..
well, if you are well enough to get to the phone and call
are well enough to come to work.. and she did.

So be careful out there. Ebola is not around every corner yet. And
it won't be, if everyone follows the UC, and  if you take good

care of yourself... and WASH YOUR  HANDS. 


Anonymous said...

Thank you for such an important and informative blog. Wish you would publish it in Letters To The Editor sections so more could access it.

Word Tosser said...

I did put it on Facebook so others could read it.. but I think it is too long for the newspapers.

Anonymous said...

Great! Seems I notice the worst offenders are men. Seldom do many of the older generation of guys go online, but they sure do read the letters in newspapers. Not sure we will ever change them though.