The medical staff association is the agency that is relevant in this case scenario. The purpose of the agency is to ensure that its members, the medical staff, work in an environment where they are not exposed to infection of the diseases that their patients suffer from while they are under medical care. The function of this organization is to ensure that its members are protected from any possibility of contracting Ebola virus. In the recent past, there was a massive outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. Although the rapid rate at which the victims died once infected with the disease was worrying, the fact that the medical staff handling the patients also got infected was alarming. Many doctors and nurses who were handling the patients acquired the virus, and some of them died in the process of getting the medication. It is important to ensure that the medical staff is protected as they seek to offer medical help to the Ebola patients. Their role in hospitals is critical, but it should not be the reason for them to acquire such a deadly disease. For this reason, this agency will seek to find ways of ensuring that the medical staffs are not at risk when handling Ebola patients.
Needs Assessment: Identification of Vulnerable Population
The vulnerable population that this paper will focus on will be the medical staff. According to Saey (2012), the nurses are at a greater risk of acquiring this disease because of the amount of time they spend with the patients caring for them. They give them medication, help them whenever necessary while in the wards, transfers them from one point to another, and inspects them to determine their progress. This means that they have a greater risk of being in contact with the patients because of the numerous activities that involves handling them. The figure below shows data on the cases of Ebola infections and the resulting deaths.
As shown in the data above, for every two cases of Ebola infection, one patient is expected to die. This is a very worrying trend as over half of those who were diagnosed of the disease in the recent outbreak died. This puts the lives of the nurses at a great risk. They know that when they acquire the virus, then chances of them surviving are less than half. Even more worrying are the rates of deaths and the nature of mutilation this virus does to the body. Unless these nurses can be assured of their safety while addressing the patients, then chances are high that they may consider quitting their jobs in cases of an outbreak.
Needs Assessment: Identification of Health Problem
The Ebola virus is one of the deadliest viruses in the modern society. The ease and rate with which it spreads is alarming. The medical fraternity is worried that once one is infected, it takes time to respond to the medication. This may be so because the disease is relatively new, and medical researchers are yet to make a breakthrough in finding a wonder drug that can deal with the diseases. As these researchers continue to make their discoveries on how this virus can be managed, it is important to ensure that the nurses, who are caring for the patients, are protected from an infection spread by the patients. The data below shows the regions that were worst hit by this virus.
It is important to note that even though the United States is not in that list of the worst affected countries, a few cases relating to the importation of the virus were reported in the country. The number of deaths reported within that short period was worrying. The Healthy People 2020 addresses such issues under the Occupational Safety and Health objectives. This is the first objective under this category and it talks about the reduction of deaths in work-related injuries. In their work, the nurses should not be subjected to any form of infection that may possibly lead to their death.
Review of the Literature
Ebola is a disease that has raised a lot of concern over the recent past. According to Seppa (2014), the Ebola virus is one of the deadliest viruses in the modern world. The deadliness of this virus is caused by a number of factors. The first factor is the rate at which this virus develops in the body. It only has an incubation period of 21 days. After the incubation, it makes a rapid spread into the body, a fact which explains why it kills very fast. The second factor is the manner in which the virus mutilates the body. The virus damages both the internal and external body organs. Below is a figure showing a mutilated hand of an Ebola patient.
Such mutilations leave permanent scary scars even if one is lucky enough to survive the disease. According to Seppa (2014), another factor that makes Ebola virus deadly is the easy with which it is transmitted from one person to the other. Once a person touches an Ebola patient or there is any form of bodily contact with the patient, then the virus is transferred. The transfer is possible even when the virus is at the incubation period. This means that the medical staffs, especially the nurses whose basic function is to handle the patients to ensure that they are comfortable, are at a great risk of acquiring the virus. They have to use personal protective equipment to ensure that they are safe. Any defect may mean death to these doctors. They also need to be subjected to further training on how they can ensure their safety while handling Ebola patients.
Health Promotion Intervention
It is a fact that the nurses cannot stop offering their services because of the existence of a deadly virus that is easily transferred. However, it is also necessary to ensure that their lives are not put in danger given the nature of their work. For this reason, having a carefully crafted health intervention plan will be very necessary. This should start by developing a teaching plan. Ebola is a relatively new disease that American medical officers have not had much experience with, especially because the outbreaks mainly occur in Africa. For this reason, developing a teaching plan about this disease will be necessary. The first content of such a teaching plan will be how to stay safe from the virus when caring for the patients. This involves defining what the nurse should wear, how to handle the patient, the recommended duration to stay with the patient, and what to do after handling a patient. The figure below shows a team of nurses, equipped with the right gear, handling a bed-ridden Ebola patient
As shown in the figure above, having the right gear is critical when handling the patients. After the process, the nurse should get sprayed with the right solution to kill the virus that could be in the protective wear before taking them off. The nurse should then get a shower immediately using an alcohol-based detergent before putting on disinfected clothes. The nurse should understand that any bodily contact with the patient, even in cases where the patient seems to be fully recovered, should be avoided at all costs.
This health promotion project has specific objectives that should be achieved. These objectives are as specified below:
- To ensure that, by the end of a one-week seminar, the nurses are fully aware of the measures they should take to protect themselves when handling the patients.
- To ensure that, by the end of the week-long session, the hospitals’ administrations have the knowledge about the infrastructure needed to protect nurses from contracting Ebola virus while they are at work.
- To ensure that, when the one-week seminar comes to an end, hospital staff members- other than the nurses- will have the awareness of the role they can play to limit chances of the Ebola virus being transferred to a medical staff member.
The implementation process of this project is expected to be implemented by the agency defined above. The implementation of this project is expected to last for one week (From Monday to Saturday). This will involve a seminar that will be attended by all the nurses, hospitals’ administration, doctors, and all other staff members. The first two days will involve defining the infrastructure needed in the hospitals. The major target population will be the administrators. The next two days will involve defining how the infrastructure should be used by the medical staff. The last two days will involve further discussion on how to stay protected when handling Ebola patients. In each day, the morning hours will involve the learning process, while in the afternoon there will be a question-answer session.
Evaluating the progress of the project in terms of how well the set objectives were met is very critical. The pretest and post test evaluation process will be used to determine the impact of this project.
The pretest will be conducted to determine the level of knowledge of the target group before they are subjected to the seminar. The trainers will interview the nurses to determine their knowledge about Ebola, how to protect themselves against the diseases while at work, and measures they can take to protect others from contracting the diseases within the healthcare institutions. The primary aim of this pretest will be to help the trainers to determine the progress that the nurses shall have gained after the seminar.
After the seminar, a pretest will be conducted at various intervals in order to determine if the participants have retained the knowledge and are applying it in their respective places of work. The evaluation process will be conducted by the trainers after a period of two months, for the next eight months. The evaluation will involve a question-answer session with the individual participants in the project. The trainer will visit the nurses at their workstations after every two month for the next eight months and engage them in a debate on how well they understand the ways of fighting patient-nurse Ebola virus transmission. This involves the use of protective gears, the process of handling the patient, and any other information relevant in this fight. There will also be an evaluation of how the administration understands their role in the fight against the Ebola virus.
Iwasa, A., Shimojima, M., & Kawaoka, Y. (2014). GP Serves as a Structural Protein in Ebola Virus Infection. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 204(3), S897-S903
Saey, T. (2012). Ebola virus may go airborne. Science Journal, 182(12), 12
Seppa, N. (2014).Vaccine Protects Monkeys from Ebola Virus. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 158(23), 358