Treating Ebola Patients Gives University-Based Hospital a Healthy Boost in the Community

February 16, 2015

By Lisa D. Ellis

NMed_Primary_tag_sm_rgb[1]A frenzy of media attention has been centered on Nebraska Medicine in Omaha recently. As one of only three hospitals in the United States to run a biocontainment unit equipped to treat highly infectious diseases, it has had an almost unprecedented opportunity to play host to a few of the nation’s first Ebola patients over the past six or so months and in the process, has gotten a lot right when it comes to being transparent and communicating key details with their staff, patients, the public and the media.

Preparing For Patients in the Isolation Unit

Nebraska’s isolation unit, which is the largest such unit in the nation, has five rooms and a total of 10 beds and features a special air-locked handling system that prevents the spread of germs. The treatment team there trains four times a year to be ready for a host of possible scenarios. Still, nothing could completely prepare the staff for the barrage of interest—and concern—created by the admittance of their first Ebola patient.

Taylor Wilson is the Senior Media Relations Coordinator for the 630-bed hospital, which is a clinical partner of the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He says that despite all of the rumors and worry circulating about Ebola and about how this potentially fatal virus is transmitted, the staff, patients and community have been generally supportive about the hospital’s important role in caring for these seriously ill patients.

In fact, he admits that contrary to what you might expect, the biggest hurdles he has faced on the job haven’t come from any protests from other patients or their families, but rather, has been the result of the overwhelming response from media outlets from all over the country that were eager to stay abreast of the latest occurrences at Nebraska Medicine in regard to the patients’ statuses.

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