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Inpatient Isolation

If you have ever been admitted to the hospital and been on "isolation" you will know what this is.  There are signs posted on your door with the mandatory requirements to enter your room.  

The good part of isolation may be that you get a private room. The downside to isolation is that less people enter your room to care for you, as putting on the required gown, gloves and mask are time consuming.  It also produced a lot of waste. 

Unfortunately, when CNAs, RNs or doctors go room to room, we can often transmit the bacteria or virus you have to other hospital patients.  Bacteria and virus' are so small, they might get on your hands or clothing by just brushing by your bed.  Then they can transfer to another room by the same action that may not even be noticed. 

Generally speaking, people who are not sick or immunocompromised will not get ill from these bacteria.  However, in the hospital, people are very ill and vulnerable to all infections, so we try our very best to prevent any transfer of bacteria and viruses between patients in the hospital. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are several types of  isolation that are used to help prevent the spread of contagious illnesses.

These include:

  1. Contact isolation: This is used for patients with contagious diseases that can be spread through direct or indirect contact with the patient or their environment. Examples of diseases that require contact isolation include MRSA, VRE, and C. difficile.  For example, an open wound with MRSA can be easily picked up and transferred. But a blood stream infection with MRSA is not transferable.   So it also depends on where the infection is on the body.

  2. Droplet isolation: This is used for patients with diseases that are spread through respiratory droplets, such as influenza, pneumonia, and pertussis. Patients in droplet isolation are typically placed in private rooms and healthcare workers wear masks and eye protection when entering the room.  Simple surgical masks are also required if the healthcare worker will be within 3 feet of a patient with a cough. Generally, 3 feet is how far "droplets" can travel in the air before they drop from their weight and gravity. 

  3. Airborne isolation: This is used for patients with diseases that can be spread through the air, such as COVID, tuberculosis, measles, and chickenpox. Patients in airborne isolation are typically placed in negative pressure rooms and healthcare workers wear masks and respirators when entering the room.  This is the N-95 mask we all know and love.

 

Visitor restrictions are also commonly used in hospitals to help prevent the spread of contagious illnesses. Depending on the situation, visitors may be limited to certain hours, restricted to specific areas, required to wear personal protective equipment, or not allowed at all.

The CDC has more reading at:  Isolation Precautions

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