The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its recommendations for isolation precautions for the first time since 1996. The new guidelines reflect changes in health care delivery over the past decade, including the shift of health care delivery from primarily acute care hospitals to settings such as the home and ambulatory facilities. Because the guidelines cover the spectrum of delivery settings, they've dropped the term "nosocomial infection" in favor of a broader term, "health care-associated infections" (HAIs).
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The 2007 guidelines also incorporate current knowledge about droplet and airborne disease transmission. Although they retain the three categories of transmission-based precautions-contact, droplet, and airborne-they now advise caregivers to don personal protective equipment (PPE) upon entry into the patient's room if the patient is on contact or droplet precautions. Under previous guidelines, caregivers were told to wear PPE when working within 3 feet of the patient.
The guidelines offer an updated alphabetical list of most infectious agents and clinical conditions for which isolation precautions are recommended. You'll find guidance on using isolation precautions according to clinical syndrome and a summary of infection control precautions for some agents of bioterrorism. New recommendations also address preventing transmission of multidrug-resistant organisms.
Access Guideline for Isolation Precautions: Preventing Transmission of Infectious Agents in Healthcare Settings 2007 at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/pdf/guidelines/Isolation2007.pdf.