Impact of contact isolation for multidrug-resistant organisms on the occurrence of medical errors and adverse events.
Contact isolation, which requires health care workers to wear a gown, gloves, and mask before entering a patient's room, has been shown to decrease the spread of multidrug resistant bacteria, including methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Prior studies have documented adverse outcomes for patients placed in contact isolation while hospitalized. This study examines whether more adverse events occur for patients in intensive care units who are placed on contact isolation compared with those not on contact isolation. The authors found an increased incidence of hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, error in anticoagulant prescription, and ventilator-associated pneumonia among patients in contact isolation. These findings suggest that the benefit of limiting the spread of health care–associated infections should be weighed against the risks to patients. An AHRQ WebM&M perspective reveals a nurse's experience with MRSA.