Variability of contact precaution policies in US emergency departments

February 7, 2014

In a study published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology on February 7, 2014, Daniel J. Pallin, MD, MPH and Jeremiah D. Schuur, MD, MS, surveyed a random sample of US emergency departments (EDs) and found substantial variation in the adoption of policies relating to contact precautions.

While most EDs have policies relating to contact precautions when specific organisms are suspected, a minority have such policies for the symptoms often caused by those organisms. This indicated that institutional policies do not mirror consensus recommendations by the CDC, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America and other national bodies.

The authors write, "The variation in policy that we observed leads us to recommend that emergency medicine organizations, such as the American College of Emergency Physicians, should enact policies addressing contact precautions in the ED. "

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