The National Patient Safety Foundation shares the worldwide concern about the current Ebola crisis. Our thoughts are with the patients, families, and frontline caregivers who are dealing with this very challenging public health threat.
We recognize that the risk of Ebola to the average person in the US remains quite low. The events at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and the infection of two health care workers, however, demonstrate how much we have yet to learn about the best practices of caring for patients with Ebola.
At this time, NPSF urges a recognition of two major safety tenets. First, it is clear that workforce safety is a precondition for patient safety. Health care leaders must ensure the physical and psychological health of those who care for patients and families as it is essential to delivering on their mission. Second, it is the duty of all health care leaders and professionals to try to understand why errors and harm occur. We must continually focus on improvement, and not unproductively jump to conclusions and focus on blame.
We have heard from many of our health care colleagues about the efforts of their organizations to rapidly form Ebola committees and safety plans that will ensure the safe, timely, and quality care of patients and their workforce. We support the prioritization of organizations around the world to improve their readiness and responsiveness in anticipation of and preparation for Ebola.
The Foundation’s vision is “creating a world where patients and those who care for them are free from harm.” We urge all to remain in contact with their state hospital associations and public health departments, their state nursing associations and other professional societies, and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the latest updates and guidelines about how to handle suspected Ebola cases and how to care for any patients confirmed to have the disease, in order to minimize harm to patients and those who care for them.