2 minutes per day (or, Still beating that dead horse, contact precautions edition)

Regular readers know that we’ve long been posting about the unintended adverse consequences of contact precautions, most recently yesterday with Mike’s post on the added associated costs. A research letter was published online today in JAMA Internal Medicine, reporting results of a time-motion study of interns (using RFID badges) to compare time spent with isolated versus non-isolated patients. You guessed it, the interns visited the isolated patients less often and for shorter periods of time. To quote the authors, “[these] results support a growing body of literature suggesting that contact precautions may impede patient care”. We are long overdue for a rethinking of our use of contact precautions. I’ll end with another quote from the authors, one that nicely sums up the take-home message:
"Further research is needed, both to better define the patient population for whom the benefits of contact isolation outweigh the risks and to develop strategies to ameliorate those risks for those who must be placed into isolation."


  1. Thanks Dan, fascinating post as usual. As you're probably aware, there's been a bit of a "CRE storm" in the UK of late, with Public Health England issuing a toolkit and writing to all NHS chief executives telling them to implement it. The problem is, implementing the toolkit to the letter is likely to place considerably additional contact precautions burden on the NHS. http://www.micro-blog.info/2014/04/considering-the-burden-of-enhanced-cre-screening/

    This will be expensive and unpopular!


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