Isolation Procedures: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Your doctor wants you to be kept away, or isolated, from other patients while you get medical care. You may be in a special hospital room. This helps to keep you separate from other people. This may be done because you have an infection that can be spread to others. Or you may be kept away from others to protect you from getting an infection.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

What can you expect while in isolation?

  • When your doctors and nurses care for you, they may use extra precautions. For example, they may wear gloves, masks, and gowns.
  • Everyone who enters or leaves the room needs to wash his or her hands very well.
  • Sometimes isolation rooms use negative air pressure. This helps prevent airborne diseases (such as tuberculosis) from escaping the room and infecting other people. A machine pulls air into the room. It filters the air before moving it outside. You may be able to feel air being sucked into the room under a closed door. Or it may come through a slightly opened window.
  • In other cases, positive air pressure may be used. For example, this may be used when a person has a weakened immune system. Clean, filtered air is constantly pumped into the room. This is done to keep contagious diseases out of the room.
  • You may be allowed to have visitors. But all visitors must wear masks, gowns, and gloves. Hospital workers must wear them too. In some cases, only certain family members may be allowed to visit. Children may not be allowed. Those who have colds, flu, or other illnesses will not be allowed to visit you.
  • The door to your room may need to stay closed at all times.
  • You may need to stay in your room, except for tests or procedures that can't be done in your room.

Where can you learn more?

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Current as of: August 14, 2016