Kilpatrick, Claire, Prieto, Jacqui and Wigglesworth, Neil
Single room isolation to prevent the transmission of infection: development of a patient journey tool to support safe practice
Journal of Infection Control, 9, (6), . (doi:10.1177/1469044608098325).
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A variety of infection prevention and control precautions are used to minimise the risk of infection spread from person to person, both patients and staff. Standard Precautions (SPs), including hand hygiene and use of personal protective equipment (PPE), are applied routinely to all patients, whereas transmission-based precautions (TBPs) are used when a patient is known or suspected to have an epidemiologically important infectious disease or condition, in order to further reduce the risk of spread of infection.
The use of single room isolation is part of TBPs and is a cornerstone of hospital infection prevention and control practice. However, successfully implementing TBPs, including single room isolation, continues to be a challenge in the UK for a number of reasons.
Effective approaches to increasing the quality and safety of patient care are increasingly based on utilising simple tools that increase the likelihood that care will be provided in a reliable way. The tool presented is intended to facilitate both learning and practice in relation to TBPs and to promote the delivery of safe patient care in relation to single room isolation. It is designed for use in those situations when a single room is available for patient isolation. It also highlights the other important TBPs to be taken to prevent the spread of infection, whether or not a single room is available. It can be adapted for use with any organism or disease for which TBPs are recommended. At a time when healthcare associated infections (HCAI) such as Clostridium difficile and meticillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) continue to have an impact on both acute and community care settings, and their reduction is embedded within national targets for NHS healthcare providers, tools that make it easy for healthcare workers to apply safe practices within their daily routines are essential.
Initial testing suggests that this tool is acceptable to healthcare workers and further study will identify its potential contribution to healthcare workers' knowledge and practice in this area.
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