Survey: U.S. hospitals not well prepared for Ebola patients

October 27, 2014

Only 6% of hospitals in the United States are well prepared to receive Ebola patients, according to a recent survey of infection prevention experts by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

Only 6% of hospitals in the United States are well prepared to receive Ebola patients, according to a recent survey of infection prevention experts by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

The survey, conducted between October 10 and October 15, asked 1,039 infection prevention experts at hospitals: How prepared is your facility to receive a patient with the Ebola virus?

Five-percent of the infection prevention experts said their hospitals were not prepared to receive an Ebola patient; a majority of respondents (40%) believe their hospitals are somewhat prepared to receive Ebola patients.

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"We know that many hospitals do not have enough staff dedicated to infection prevention and control," said Jennie Mayfield, BSN, MPH, CIC, president of APIC. "Facilities that are inadequately staffed to begin with are stretched beyond capacity at a time like this. The current crisis demonstrates our lack of surge capacity and should concern everyone.”

 

The infection prevent experts surveyed worked in hospitals ranging in size from 100 to 400 beds. Slightly more than half (51%) of the hospitals identified in the survey employed one or less full-time infection prevent experts.

"The survey highlights the short shrift given to infection prevention at many U.S. hospitals," said Katrina Crist, MBA, APIC’s CEO. "The Ebola outbreak illustrates why facility-wide infection prevention programs are critical and require adequately trained, staffed, and resourced infection control departments. The unique skill set of the infection preventionist is needed to get out in front of this outbreak and prevent the next public health issue from escalating to a crisis.”