Patient Isolation Associated With Higher Risk of Delirium
Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of American release.
Isolation measures are taken to prevent the spread of infections such as MRSA. The measures, known as contact precautions, require patients to be isolated in their own room. In addition, healthcare personnel must wear masks, gowns and other protective equipment.
The researchers examined two years of data from a 662-bed medical center. They found patients who were placed on contact precautions at some point after admission to the hospital were 1.75 times more likely to develop delirium. However, patients on contact precautions from the beginning of their hospital stay were no more likely to develop delirium. That finding, the researchers say, suggests that it may not be the precautions themselves causing delirium.
"Patients in our study who were placed on contact precautions later in their hospitalization were generally sicker than those who were on contact precautions from the outset," one researcher said. "So it's possible that the underlying illness rather than the precautions themselves is responsible for the association with delirium."
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