The Effect of Contact Precautions on Frequency of Hospital Adverse Events

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2015 Nov;36(11):1268-74. doi: 10.1017/ice.2015.192. Epub 2015 Aug 17.


Objective: To determine whether use of contact precautions on hospital ward patients is associated with patient adverse events

Design: Individually matched prospective cohort study

Setting: The University of Maryland Medical Center, a tertiary care hospital in Baltimore, Maryland

Methods: A total of 296 medical or surgical inpatients admitted to non-intensive care unit hospital wards were enrolled at admission from January to November 2010. Patients on contact precautions were individually matched by hospital unit after an initial 3-day length of stay to patients not on contact precautions. Adverse events were detected by physician chart review and categorized as noninfectious, preventable and severe noninfectious, and infectious adverse events during the patient's stay using the standardized Institute for Healthcare Improvement's Global Trigger Tool.

Results: The cohort of 148 patients on contact precautions at admission was matched with a cohort of 148 patients not on contact precautions. Of the total 296 subjects, 104 (35.1%) experienced at least 1 adverse event during their hospital stay. Contact precautions were associated with fewer noninfectious adverse events (rate ratio [RtR], 0.70; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.51-0.95; P=.02) and although not statistically significant, with fewer severe adverse events (RtR, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.46-1.03; P=.07). Preventable adverse events did not significantly differ between patients on contact precautions and patients not on contact precautions (RtR, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.59-1.24; P=.41).

Conclusions: Hospital ward patients on contact precautions were less likely to experience noninfectious adverse events during their hospital stay than patients not on contact precautions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Baltimore
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology*
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Hospital Units
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / standards*
  • Inpatients
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tertiary Care Centers