study in the March issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology led by Keith Kaye, which examines the hypothesis that the burden of patients in contact precautions has an impact on compliance with contact precautions. The study used surreptitious observers to record compliance with the components of contact precautions in eleven teaching hospitals. Approximately 1,000 observations were performed in the ICU and ward settings. The authors conclude: "As the proportion of patients in contact isolation increases, compliance with contact isolation precautions decreases."
However, looking at the same data, I came to a different conclusion. I converted the bar graph (figure 2 in the paper) to a line graph which makes it easier to follow compliance with each component of contact precautions as the proportion of patients in contact precautions increases:
So my conclusion would be that there is a negative correlation between the burden of contact precautions and hand hygiene prior to patient care. And maybe that's not so bad...
Photo: Liberty Voice