The potential for transmission of infection must be assessed at the patient’s entry to the care area. If hospitalised or in a care home setting this should be continuously reviewed throughout the stay/period of care. The assessment should influence placement decisions in accordance with clinical/care need(s).
Patients who may present a cross-infection risk in any setting includes but is not limited to those:
Further information regarding general respiratory screening questions can be found within the resources section of the NIPCM.
Isolation facilities should be prioritised depending on the known/suspected infectious agent (refer to Aide Memoire - Appendix 11). All patient placement decisions and assessment of infection risk (including isolation requirements) must be clearly documented in the patient notes.
When single-bed rooms are limited, patients who have conditions that facilitate the transmission of infection to other patients (e.g., draining wounds, stool incontinence, uncontained secretions) and those who are at increased risk of acquisition and adverse outcomes resulting from HAI (e.g., immunosuppression, open wounds, invasive devices, anticipated prolonged length of stay, total dependence on HCWs for activities of daily living) should be prioritised for placement in a single-bed room. Single-bed room prioritisation should be reviewed daily and the clinical judgement and expertise of the staff involved in a patient's management and the Infection Prevention and Control Team (IPCT) or Health Protection Team (HPT) should be sought particularly for the application of TBPs e.g. isolation prioritisation when single rooms are in short supply.
Cohorting of patients should only be considered when single rooms are in short supply and should be undertaken in conjunction with the local IPCT.
Patients who should not be placed in multi bed cohorts:
Consider assigning a dedicated team of care staff to care for patients in isolation/cohort rooms/areas as an additional infection control measure during outbreaks/incidents. This can only be implemented through planning of staff rotas if there are sufficient levels of staff available to ensure consistency in staff allocation (so as not to have a negative impact on non-affected patients’ care).
Individual patient risk factors should be considered, for example there may be prolonged shedding of certain microorganisms in immunocompromised patients). Clinical and molecular tests to show the absence of microorganisms may be considered in the decision to discontinue isolation and can reduce isolation times. The clinical judgement and expertise of the staff involved in a patient’s management and the Infection Prevention and Control Team (IPCT) or Health Protection Team (HPT) should be sought on decisions regarding isolation discontinuation.