An audit of the use of isolation facilities in a UK National Health Service trust

J Hosp Infect. 2005 Jul;60(3):213-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2004.11.013.


To aid the ongoing battle against hospital-acquired infection in the UK, all acute National Health Service (NHS) trusts should have audit data about how dedicated isolation beds within the trust are being used. In a previously published audit, we demonstrated that one-third of patients admitted to a dedicated isolation room in Tayside were not thought to be an infection risk by experienced healthcare staff. Since this audit, Tayside's isolation facilities have moved from a small peripheral 'fever' hospital to a large central teaching hospital site. At the time of this move, and using the above audit data, we designed and implemented a guideline for general practitioners and hospital doctors regarding the admission of patients to an isolation bed. The aim of this study was to compare the use of isolation beds before and after the move to the new facilities, which we anticipated would increase the demand for isolation. The results show that by all three criteria used, the utilization of isolation beds has deteriorated following the move, mainly due to the increased admission of general medical 'boarders' and low-risk infection patients. At a time when hospital-acquired infections are increasing, NHS trusts should ensure that dedicated isolation beds are used appropriately.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Management Audit / methods*
  • National Health Programs*
  • Patient Admission
  • Patient Isolation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • United Kingdom