Researchers Find Variability of Contact Precaution Policies in U.S. Emergency Departments

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In a study published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology on Feb. 7, 2014, Daniel J. Pallin, MD, MPH and Jeremiah D. Schuur, MD, MS, both from Brigham and Women's Hospital, surveyed a random sample of U.S. 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 Centers for Disease Control and Preventiuon (CDC), the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) 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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