Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Ebola Information Hotline

WASHINGTON (PR) - The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the nation’s second-largest nurses’ union, today launched an Ebola Information Hotline and national ad buy to help ensure all healthcare workers receive the resources, equipment and training to prepare for and contain Ebola in the United States.

This hotline will provide a place for frontline healthcare workers to confidentially report concerns that could put them at risk for potential exposure to Ebola, so they can protect themselves, their patients and their communities. The hotline also will support OSHA’s push to require health facilities to have Ebola preparedness and response plans.

“Our top priority as the nation’s second-largest union of nurses continues to be ensuring the safety of our communities and our nurses and frontline providers. To do so, those frontline providers need training and resources,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. “In places such as the UConn Health Center in Farmington, Conn., I have seen firsthand that nurses and health professionals are working with their hospitals to put plans in place. But we know that too many facilities haven’t provided the training, support or resources needed. With OSHA mandating Ebola preparedness plans at every health facility, we wanted to create a resource for nurses and health professionals to turn to if their facility is not providing what is necessary to protect them and their communities.”

The print and digital advertising buy launches this week in Alaska, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

This is the latest step in the AFT’s local, national and international effort to combat and contain Ebola. Last month, the AFT released a three-point strategy to protect healthcare workers and communities, including:

Infection-control protocols and worker-preparedness plans at all health facilities.
Dedicated, specially trained teams of willing staff—including doctors, nurses, lab and X-ray technicians, and housekeeping staff—to care for potential Ebola patients, along with adequate staffing.
Inclusion of frontline providers in the development and implementation of plans.

AFT locals have been working with employers across the country to implement these strategies. For example, in Washington state, our leaders worked with state officials and hospital management to put in place the right training and equipment. And at UConn Health Center in Connecticut, hundreds of workers have volunteered to participate in training. In addition, the AFT’s Ebola response toolkit at www.AFT.org continues to be updated with tools and resources both to help healthcare workers and to support  preparedness in public schools.

On an international level, the AFT has contributed money from our Disaster Relief Fund to combat and contain Ebola in West Africa, including supporting Doctors Without Borders.

The AFT represents 1.6 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.

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