Why I hate Contact Precautions, vol. 1.

Because they hurt patients. And yes, I know that using barriers can be essential to controlling outbreaks of bugs that are spread by direct contact.....but somehow the use of contact precautions has become embedded in our standard practice for managing any patient found to carry a resistant organism, whether or not they have draining wounds, uncontrolled secretions, etc.--even in non-outbreak settings.

But the evidence to support use of contact precautions outside of outbreak settings is weak. Not only that, but the implementation of contact precautions in most hospitals is even worse than that of hand hygiene.

Why am posting this? Because Kathy Kirkland, hospital epidemiologist at Dartmouth, has a great piece in the March issue of CID that proposes a new approach to the use of contact precautions. I suggest that you read it.


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