Hospital patients with open wounds or weakened immune systems are often at risk for acquiring, Multiple Drug Resistant Organisms (MDRO), often difficult-to-treat bacterial infections that are resistant to most commonly used antibiotics. If hospital care teams don’t follow established infection control practices, they may unknowingly transfer MDRO and/or other bacteria from patient to patient. When visitors of MDRO patients don’t follow safety protocols, they, too, can unknowingly contaminate surfaces with bacteria that others come in contact with, placing others at risk.
At Stony Brook University Hospital (SBUH), patients who are infected and or colonized with a MDRO, are provided private rooms with dedicated patient care equipment to avoid the risk of transmitting the resistant organism to other patients, staff, and visitors. This is what is commonly referred to as placing a patient in “isolation.”
The isolation safety protocol at SBUH is designed to ensure everyone’s safety—our patients, their families, visitors, as well as our employees. Everyone is expected to take the precautions necessary to ensure that the safest possible environment is maintained throughout SBUH. This means not just in the isolation area, but in all areas of Stony Brook University Hospital, including common areas such as the cafeteria, bathrooms, visitors lounge, patient waiting areas and elevators.
Our isolation system follows the best practice approach recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It includes standard and disease-specific isolation methods for identifying, coding, and communicating information about patients on isolation for MDRO and other reasons. Once identified with the need for isolation, a patient is placed into the type of room indicated by the best practice. The patient’s carefully monitored condition must then meet best practice criteria to come off of isolation. Assignment of a letter code on a patient’s hospital record that is reflective of the reason for isolation enables us to easily identify these patients on subsequent admissions and promptly initiate isolation.