Ebola Online Training Prepares Health-Care Workers

Universities help with an online training module project that demonstrates ways to protect health-care workers.

by / November 13, 2014

Thanks to help from two universities, U.S. health-care workers can watch demonstrations of the protection procedures they're supposed to follow when they work with Ebola patients.  

The project -- a collaboration among Johns Hopkins University, Miami University, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Salesforce Foundation, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America -- offers online training modules, including video demonstrations that show workers how to put on and take off protective gear safely, as well as what trained observers should do during these processes. These demonstrations are important because they provide an example that health-care workers can see and then put into practice.

With Ebola popping up in some U.S. hospitals, it was critical for this project to go live as soon as possible. The project team spent more than a week working long hours so they could get the training material into the hands of health-care workers quickly.

Before health-care workers come into contact with a possible Ebola patient, they must carefully put on personal protective equipment to cover all of their skin. The equipment they use includes two pairs of gloves, a gown or coveralls, an apron, shoe covers, respirators, masks and face shields.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ebola can be transmitted three ways through direct contact with the following:

  1. Ebola patients' blood or body fluids including saliva and sweat
  2. Contaminated objects such as needles
  3. Infected fruit bats or primates

When health-care workers take the equipment off, they must be even more careful because the patient's blood or body fluids could be on their gear. It's important to slowly peel off their gear in stages with plenty of disinfecting in between.

By having a trained observer there, they can help spot any rips or tears in the gear that could have exposed the skin, and can help them follow the correct procedures. The training modules cover what these trained observers are supposed to do, as well as how health-care workers are to put on and take off their gear. 

With online training like this, U.S. health-care workers will be able to take steps to protect themselves and others from contracting Ebola. 

This story was originally published by the Center for Digital Education.