Let me hate on contact precautions some more

The very first post on this blog was written by Dan in March 2009. It was entitled, Why I Hate Contact Precautions, vol. 1. I'll let Dan and Eli speak for themselves about how they feel now, but I remain a hater.

Results from three new studies add fuel to my fire:

(1) In one hospital, patients in contact precautions were found to wait approximately 10 hours longer for CT scans than those who were not in contact precautions. This is a reminder that there are downstream adverse effects of contact precautions that impact quality of care that perhaps we haven't even thought about.

(2) Another paper (different journal, same authors as the first paper) was a retrospective cohort study of patient safety incidents before and after patients were placed in contact precautions. Medication errors were 1.5-fold higher under contact precautions, and patient injuries were over 3-fold higher.

(3) Dan Morgan and his colleagues at University of Maryland found that patients cared for under contact precautions were twice as likely to perceive that their care was poor. Specifically, they reported poor care coordination and lack of respect for their needs and preferences.

There's an old belief shared by bartenders that nothing good happens after 2 AM. In my line of work, nothing good happens after contact precautions.

Photo: Healthcare Purchasing News


  1. I had no idea contact precautions could effect patient safety like that.


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