A study published in the British Medical Journal was conducted to determine whether isolated patients admitted to hospitals have a higher incidence of adverse events (AEs), to identify their nature, impact, and preventability. The study involved 400 patients, 200 isolated and 200 non-isolated, age ≥18 years old from April 2017 to October 2018.
Not surprisingly, the study showed that adverse events were significantly higher in isolated patients compared with non-isolated patients; 67.6% were preventable and hospital-acquired infection was the primary cause. Recent developments such as the appearance of the rapidly spreading virus SARS-CoV-2, alongside the ongoing increase in the incidence of multidrug-resistant bacteria requiring particular care in terms of avoiding transmission, make it increasingly more important that appropriate training of health care workers on precautions be mandatory.
Although this is a great study and reaffirms the need for ongoing education, competency verification, and compliance, it doesn’t provide solutions for isolated resident safety. As providers, we need to keep that in the forefront of everything we do. Should we close a resident’s door if they are in isolation or keep it open to observe them? Do we have hand sanitizer readily available in rooms where residents with dementia live? These are valid questions and things that keep us awake at night. There are no concrete yes or no answers but document the “why” and continue to do what you do for your residents!
Stay the course, stay strong, stay well, mask up, and stay tuned!