Isolation Guidelines

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  • Isolation and Precautions Labeling

    On several occasions in the past, problems have been encountered regarding patients on some type of isolation, who were transported within the hospital for surgical or diagnostic procedures when isolation status was not communicated to the receiving department.

    Isolation/Precautions should always be documented with the larger door signs on the patient's room door. Smaller matching color-coded Isolation/Precaution labels should be affixed to the front cover of the patient's hospital chart.

    Labeling should be done at the time specific isolation/precautions have been ordered by the physician or Infection Control practitioner. The larger door signs should be removed from the door when isolation has been discontinued. If a patient is transferred or discharged, the isolation card should remain on the door until Environmental Services staff have cleaned the room (or at least one hour for Airborne or Airborne-Contact Precautions).

    Prior to the isolation patient leaving the floor or unit for a procedure, the receiving area should be notified of the patient’s isolation status. When the isolated patient leaves the unit, the chart should be rechecked for presence of the isolation labels. The transportation aide should also be verbally informed and should, in turn, inform the person receiving the patient in the other department. (See information on transportation of patients on Airborne Precautions.)

    It is essential that everyone coming in contact with patients on isolation precautions be aware of the medical hazards and necessary precautions. Not adhering to these hospital policies could jeopardize the health of your coworkers as well as your hospital's ability to protect you from medicolegal action in the event the disease for which a patient is being isolated is transmitted to someone else due to ignorance of the fact that the patient was isolated.