Isolation (health care)
In health care, isolation refers to various measures taken to prevent contagious diseases from being spread from a patient to other patients, health care workers, and visitors, or from others to a particular patient. Various forms of isolation exist, some of which contact procedures are modified, and others in which the patient is kept away from all others.
Isolation is most commonly used when a patient has a viral illness. Special equipment is used in the treatment of patients on the various forms of isolation. These most commonly include gowns, masks, and gloves.
Forms of isolation
Strict isolation is used for diseases spread through the air and in some cases by contact Patients must be placed in isolation to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Those who are kept in strict isolation are often kept in a special room at the facility designed for that purpose. Such rooms are equipped with a special lavatory and caregiving equipment, and a sink and waste disposal are provided for workers upon leaving the area.
Contact isolation is used to prevent the spread of diseases that can be spread through contact with open wounds. Health care workers making contact with a patient on contact isolation are required to wear gloves, and in some cases, a gown.
Blood and body fluids precautions
This method is used when there is concern about communicable diseases found in a patient's body fluid. Health care workers making contact with the patient when body fluids are involved must wear gloves
Reverse isolation is a method to prevent a patient in a compromised health situation from being contaminated by other people or objects.
Effects of isolation
Isolation can have the following effects on patients:
- Patient may not be able to receive visitors, and in turn, become lonely
- Patient may be anxious
- Small children may feel their isolation is a punishment
- Staff may need to spend more time with patients
- Patients may not be able to receive certain types of care due to the risk that other patients may become contaminated. This includes forms of care that involve use of equipment common to all patients at the facility, or that involve transporting the patient to an area of the facility common to all patients.
Health care workers who become infected with certain contagious illnesses are not permitted in many places to work with patients. While facility rules and laws vary, a common guideline that has been set is 48 hours.
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