In the fight against bacteria, are doctors being too careful? -

In the fight against bacteria, are doctors being too careful?

Overly isolating patients can have harmful impact, too: report


Infectious disease experts and hospital epidemiologists have long relied on precautions to stop the spread of virulent bacteria, but methods of infection control (like hand washing, gowns, gloves, physical isolation, sometimes masks and eye protection) have now become routine in hospitals everywhere, the New York Times reports: up to one-quarter of all hospitalized patients face such restrictions. Doctors are starting to question the unintended consequences of this. In the latest issue of The Annals of Family Medicine, family practitioner Dr. Leif Hass contends the fear of contagion among physicians can actually compromise the quality of care: individuals in isolation have fewer interactions with clinicians, more delays in care, lower satisfaction levels, and higher levels of depression and anxiety. These can lead to complications and an increase of as much as 100 per cent in overall incidence of adverse events. Another study, from the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, found the infection rate was identical whether health care workers wore gowns and gloves with only patients in isolations, or whether they wore only gloves with all patients.

New York Times

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