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Beyond the Room: Allowing Patients on Contact Precautions to Venture Outside

APR 03, 2017 | KRISTI ROSA
“The next tip is to create an approach for discontinuing the precautions for certain organisms, so that you don’t have people on precautions forever and there is actually a path to eventually be getting off of precautions,continued Dr. Sandora. With these preparations in place, families are provided with a certain hope that eventually their child will be off precautions and not trapped inside of a room indefinitely.

Dr. Sandora next recommended addressing expectations through family education materials. He explained, “I think it’s actually very helpful for [the family] if they understand the rules and there’s clear guidance about it.” By having the expectations in writing, it not only makes the expectations clearer for families, but also shows them that these expectations are a hospital policy and not just a rule specific to their family. “This is what we can expect for all patients who would be in the same situation,” added Dr. Sandora, “[And] so, [by] normalizing the expectation a little bit, I think that for us, has been very helpful.”

Dr. Sandora also advised conference attendees to flag charts so that contact precautions can apply across encounters. Documenting the rules for each patient case in the medical record is also something that Dr. Sandora finds particularly helpful. An example of such a note made in a medical record would “say things like if the patient has to be outside the room, she can do so for thirty minutes up to three times a day and can only be on the unit back hallway. She has to be accompanied by a staff member who’s observing contact precautions,” among other statements. Dr. Sandora stressed that by having this documented, it ensures that everyone is “playing by the same set of rules” and is on the same page. Infection preventionists can also use this as a reference if they cannot remember the specific rules for one patient case.

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