More Contact Precautions Do Not Lead to Better Infection Control Practices, Study Shows

Increases in contact isolation do not have corresponding increases in isolation practice compliance among healthcare workers, according to a study published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

Researchers monitored healthcare workers' compliance with individual components of contact precautions — hand hygiene, gloving behavior and doffing upon exit — at 11 teaching hospitals over 9 months in 2009.

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With 20 percent or less of a patient population under contact precautions, total compliance with the practice was 28.9 percent. With patient populations between 20 percent and 60 percent under contact isolation, compliance fell in some cases to as low as 6.5 percent.

Researchers concluded 40 percent of patients under contact precautions appeared to be the threshold for the change in proportion of contact precaution-compliant healthcare workers.

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