Munson Health
Isolation Precautions

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by Randall B
IMAGE Some patients need to be isolated from other patients, hospital staff, and visitors due to their illness during their hospital stay. This is because they are carrying harmful microorganisms that have the potential of infecting others. In hospitals, where there are many sick people, preventing the spread of these microorganisms becomes very important. This is because an already ill person may have a harder time fighting this new infection.
Perhaps your doctor has ordered that you need isolation precautions. This is not intended to be a punishment. The doctor and staff are only trying to protect you and others. But, being isolated may bring about feelings of loneliness or discouragement. Learning more about contact isolation may help you to cope better with your situation.

Your Visitors and Hospital Staff

Aside from these precautions, there are things you can do to prevent the spread of diseases:
  • Wash your hands properly before and after eating and using the bathroom.
  • When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. Throw the tissue away immediately. If you are coughing, your doctor may ask you to wear a mask.

Communicate Your Concerns

Although it may seem that everyone around you looks as if they have stepped out of a sci-fi movie, it is important to know that the precautions taken are a part of providing you with the best treatment possible. But, recovery involves more than following safety measures and dispensing medicines. Recovery also requires emotional support and compassionate care from those around you. If at any time you feel lonely, depressed, or agitated due to your isolation, share your concerns with your doctors and nurses so that they can take action to ensure that your time in the hospital is a comfortable one.


United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

United States Department of Health and Human Services



Canadian National Occupation Health and Safety Resource

Health Canada



Contact isolation procedures. MedStar Harbor Hospital website. Available at: Accessed March 14, 2013.

Landelle C, Pagaini L, Harbarth S. Is patient isolation the single most important measure to prevent the spread of multidrug-resistant pathogens? Virulence. 2013;4(2):163-171.

Siegel JD, Rhinehart E, Jackson M, Chiarello L; the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee. Guideline for isolation precautions: preventing transmission of infectious agents in healthcare settings 2007. Premier website. Available at: Published 2007. Accessed March 9, 2011.


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