Monday, October 20, 2014 - Prepared for Ebola

During the course of our 115 year history in the community, Holy Family Memorial has monitored and prepared for several worldwide health epidemics, from polio, to AIDS, and now Ebola. HFM prides itself on being prepared to treat patients with Ebola symptoms with respect, dignity and quality medical care.

Though there have been no confirmed or suspected cases in Wisconsin to date, concern about Ebola in the United States is growing, and staff at Holy Family Memorial are working to ensure we are prepared for patients who may present with symptoms and travel history consistent with Ebola.

We have a team in place working to make sure that recommendations on Ebola preparedness from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Wisconsin Division of Public Health are being implemented. The team has created an action plan for HFM using guidelines created by the CDC, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, and the Wisconsin Division of Public Health. We are continuously educating our physicians and staff with the latest guidelines. Our plan is updated as conditions and recommendations change.

HFM’s preparedness team has been working with clinic and emergency department staff to ensure their readiness should a patient with symptoms present at those locations. The work at this point addresses availability of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), familiarity with the Ebola screening criteria, infection prevention and control recommendations and patient care needs. All patients who present to the Emergency Department or Walk-in Care are asked about travel history. In addition, our laboratories have received guidance on specimen collection, transport and testing for patients with suspected Ebola.

If someone with suspected Ebola presents at HFM, the following steps will be taken:
  1. Diagnose – Diagnostic testing will be done to confirm that the patient has the disease.
  2. Isolate – Patient will be isolated according to CDC recommended precautions.
  3. Protect – We will protect employees, medical staff and community while caring for the patient with dignity, compassion and excellence.
  4. Refer - The patient will be transferred to a regional facility specially trained to care for these cases.
HFM will continue to actively monitor the situation and guidelines set by national agencies, and implement any changes immediately.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced that in addition to the information available on the DHS website (, a toll free line is now available for state residents with questions about the Ebola virus. Residents can dial 1-844-684-1064, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The calls are free, confidential, and multi-lingual.

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