Policy on Nurse assignments regarding contact isolation patients? ?

  1. The hospital I was working at previously had a policy that a wouldn't allow a nurse that had a contact isolation patient to take care of fresh post-op patients or patients with immunosuppression (ie. cancer patients, HIV, etc.) Now the new hospital I work at has no such policy and frequently assigns a nurse with a contact isolation patient and a fresh post-op. I brought this up to the infection control nurse and she told me that due to staffing the hospital didn't have such a policy. Since when due we compromise patient safety because of staffing? I have only worked in one other hospital so I have no idea if I am just being overly cautious. Is it common for nurses to have to combine these potentially dangerous patient populations or do most hospitals have policies to prevent it?
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    About JamRN29

    Joined: Mar '08; Posts: 4; Likes: 1
    Specialty: 7 year(s) of experience in ER, Med/Surg, Tele, Clinic


  3. by   Crux1024
    I would imagine, following universal percautions in addition to any contact isolation, one would be able to handle an assignment like that without putting the other patients at risk.

    Then again, this isnt a perfect world, things can happen.

    But If the RN/LPN is unable to have an assignment like that, I would imagine the CNA, Doctors, housekeeping or any other other staff member would also have to be regulated to be kept out.

    I wouldnt consider it compromise to patient safety if procedures are properly followed.
  4. by   nursejoy1
    I work in LTC, so can't say for sure, but it sounds like separating the two to different nurses would be sound practice.
  5. by   NurseyPoo7
    I don't think it makes much sense either... I work on neurosurgical unit and we get stuck with isolations ALL the time. Neurosurgeons are not happy
  6. by   Tait
    We do not combine isolations and transplant patients. That is the only restriction we have.

  7. by   ONCRN84
    When I worked inpatient oncology, we didn't have a "policy", but we used common sense and seperated the neutropenics and the isolations if it was possible. We tried REALLY hard not to give a nurse a neutropenic and a c-diff. Sometimes because of acuity or staff skills (ie: non chemo certified), we would end up with a MRSA and a neutropenic.

    The general idea was that if you use proper contact precautions and good handwashing, disinfecting, etc, it shouldn't be an issue. THat being said, I felt a lot more comfortable having a clean nurse and a dirty nurse.
  8. by   blondy2061h
    The whole point of contact isolation is to prevent things from spreading. If you're following contact isolation appropriately, you should be okay.

    The entire population of my floor is immunosuppressed, and most of them are on contact isolation, so it's pretty much impossible to do as you're suggesting. We've never had a problem with this. I have yet to see c-diff or MRSA spread past 1 patient.

    It's just not practical which is why isolation gowns were invented.