Clinical update: new EOC tool for infectious diseases

Call handler   HEOC

Following the recent MERS-CoV outbreak in South Korea, the way we screen for infectious diseases in EOC is changing.

The tool that has previously been utilised for identifying Ebola patients has been expanded to screen for symptoms of other emerging infectious diseases, along with flagging up recent travel to a specific country. It will come into effect on Tuesday (28th July).

This function will indicate a low or high suspicion of a disease, and EOC staff will provide as much information for crews as they have available, in the same way that crews were notified regarding potential patients with ebola. This will include an indication of what has caused the tool to be triggered, e.g. travel history or type of suspected infection if known. Crews can then be prepared with the appropriate personal protective equipment and precautions. Where indicated, EOC staff will implement the appropriate action cards and notify and mobilise the necessary resources, such as the tactical adviser.

Please note the tool will not indicate a specific infectious disease for every patient, so staff should also make themselves aware of the necessary Trust guidance and IPC precautions for different infectious diseases, such as the VHF Tier one action plan and MERS-CoV guidance. Further information regarding the IPC precautions can be found on East24 and within the IPC manuals on stations. The specific action cards for ebola are still available on Trust vehicles and can be used for information when dealing with a patient of low or high suspicion.

The tool is only intended to screen for emerging infectious diseases, so it will not flag up patients with routine infections such as colds, flu or norovirus.

It is important that all staff remember that they should adopt standard precautions for every patient and use the additional appropriate precautions, according to their dynamic risk assessment as per the Trust IPC Safe Practice Guidelines.

For further guidance, please visit East24 and for specific guidance regarding MERS-CoV please read the briefing on Need to Know. This information is also available as an clinical update; please download the PDF to display at stations.

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