Dr Schumacher’s statement follows the appointment by President Barrack Obama of a new Ebola coordinator for his administration.
While recognising that it was important for all healthcare workers to be aware of the situation and to reevaluate their infection prevention measures as recommended by Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Dr Schumacher emphasised that it was unlikely that hospice providers in the US will ever treat someone exposed to the Ebola virus.
He said: “As hospice providers, most staff and volunteers come in to contact with thousands of patients and family members every day. As the CDC has stressed, the likelihood they will ever treat someone exposed to the Ebola virus is remote. However, knowledge of the signs and symptoms and latest information regarding the scope of the outbreak is prudent.”
He cautioned against causing anxiety for the patients, saying: “As trusted healthcare providers who do the vast majority of our work in patients’ homes, we should not, in any way, foster a greater sense of anxiety. Our goal should continue to be helping our patients and their families understand these issues by using our experience and the best available knowledge to inform them.”
Dr Schumacher said: “NHPCO will continue to monitor updates from the government on its Ebola response, and share those most salient to the healthcare community.”