I am a student nurse . . . today I had a patient on contact precautions for suspected c.diff. They had a sign on the door and a cart with the PPE outside the door. I can see how it would not be that obvious to a visitor to know what was going on because they wouldn't know what contact precautions meant.
The patient had some visitors including a young child who was putting its hands on everything in the room. I told my staff nurse about it, and she said to instruct the visitors about the contact precautions but to be sure not to violate HIPPA when doing so. It was a busy day and I didn't ask her further instructions .She just said to make sure not to tell them specifics about the patient, but speak in general terms.
I was not sure how to do this, but felt that it was urgent to inform the visitors since they seemed to be unaware, especially for the child's sake. When the patient was in the bathroom I told the visitors, "This patient has been put on contact precautions. We do this any time there is a chance
that the people coming into a patient's room might
be exposed to something that can cause an infection. I would suggest that you not allow the child to touch anything in the room, and please make sure to wash your hands when you leave to protect you against anything that might
cause an infection."
Was this okay? HIPPA is such a sticky issue-- it's hard to know what to do sometimes.
Also the patient did not seem to be aware that they were on contact precautions or being tested for c.diff based on their confusion as to why they were getting such bad diarrhea. The diarrhea had nothing to do with their main reason for being there. Shouldn't someone have told them about a suspected infection?