Texas Children’s is set to receive a $1 million grant from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to put toward its newly constructed Special Isolation Unit at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus. The funds, to be delivered during the next five years, will specifically go toward Ebola preparedness activities that bolster employee safety and quality of care.
Texas Children’s began ramping up its Ebola preparedness and decided to build a special isolation unit almost a year ago, shortly after an unprecedented outbreak of the disease resulted in the realization that we must be prepared to handle emerging infections as an institution. As a result, the state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designated Texas Children’s Hospital as one of several pediatric Ebola treatment centers countrywide.
Texas Children’s Special Isolation Unit is the only one of its kind in Texas and the southwest region, and is among the few in the United States designated just for children. Located on the fifth floor of West Campus, the eight-bed unit is fully equipped to care for any infant or child with a serious communicable disease and has all of the measures available to assure safety of the health care team, other patients and their families.
As a condition of the DSHS grant, members of the National Ebola Training and Education Center (NETEC) – created to ensure health care providers and facilities are prepared to safely identify, isolate, transport and treat patients with Ebola and other emerging threats. – recently visited the Special Isolation Unit. During NETEC’s two-day trip, members of the newly formed federal entity toured the Special Isolation Unit and spoke with leaders in detail about the formation of the unit, its capabilities and its potential usages.
“We were glad to have subject matter expertise tour our facility and provide knowledge and insight that will help us improve patient and staff satisfaction,” said Special Isolation Unit Medical Director Dr. Gordon Schutze. “They were very complimentary of the unit and told us we were fortunate to have leadership that is very supportive of doing what is best for their employees and patients.”
Once received, a portion of the DSHS grant will be used to compensate Texas Children’s for the Ebola preparedness activities undertaken since July 2014. Unit and West Campus leaders are working together to identify the best use of the remaining funds and how they can be invested to better health care professional safety and quality of care.