An infection control program is designed to minimize the spread of infection. Most infection control programs use isolation procedures that separate patients with certain transmissible infections from contact with other patients. Such procedures also limit contact with hospital personal and visitors. Isolating a patient can only be done with doctor's orders because the patient is suspected of having a contagious disease or because the patient's immune system is compromised. A private room with an isolation notice on the door is usually used to isolate patients.
There are several types of isolation programs that can be used depending on the type of isolation that is needed for a particular situation.
Protective/Reverse Isolation Patients who are at a greater risk for infection are placed in protective or reverse isolation. This type of isolation requires health care workers and visitors to take protective measures to prevent transimitting infection to the patient. Usually patients with compromised and supressesed immune systems require isolation, such as burn patients, organ transplant patients, AIDS patients, and neutropenic chemotherapy patients.
Traditional Isolation Traditional isolation systems were initially created by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to prevent the transmission of many diseases. The CDC created two categories of disease to distinguish and group the main causes for isolation. Category-specific isolation covered many different diseases and was extremely costly. Disease-specific isolation was based on how a disease transmitted. Specific isolation precautions were recommended for each type of transmittable disease.
Universal Precautions This procedure for isolation was introduced in 1985 after healthcare workers were being infected with HIV from needlesticks and exposure to contaminated blood. This new procedure of isolation had body fluids considered potentially infectious.
Body Substance Body substance isolation was created to prevent infection from diseases before they are even diagnosed. This type of isolation is used when health care workers wear gloves when having contact with any moist body substance.