[Critically ill patient isolation: risk or protection?]

J Healthc Qual Res. Sep-Oct 2018;33(5):250-255. doi: 10.1016/j.jhqr.2018.06.003. Epub 2018 Oct 5.
[Article in Spanish]


Introduction: Isolation precautions are an effective measure to prevent the spread of multi-resistant microorganisms (MMR). However, its implementation is complex and can increase some risks to the patient. The aim of this study is to determine whether the implementation of isolation precautions increase the risk of patient safety incidents (PSI) in critically ill patients.

Material and methods: A retrospective observational study was conducted involving patients admitted to the ICU of a University Hospital, and that required isolation for more than 48h. Period of study: two years (from 2013/03/01 to 2015/03/31). Data source was the electronic medical record. The tools for evaluation were the Modular Review Form questionnaires (MRF1 and MRF2). An analysis was made of PSI and adverse events (AEs) during periods with and without isolation precautions, including the PSI type, severity, and preventability.

Results: The study included a total of 76 patients, 74 of whom had at least one PSI. A total of 798 PSI were detected (511 during isolation period), 599 were a No harm incident (NHI) and 199 were adverse AEs. The most frequent PSIs were associated with medication (316) and patient health care (279). Most of them were moderately or highly preventable. The incidence of PSI during periods with and without isolation was 27.3 (SD 33.8) and 29 (39.6) per 100 patient-days, respectively.

Conclusions: PSIs in ICU are frequent, and the most of them are preventable. The adoption of isolation precautions does not constitute a risk factor for PSI. Improving patient safety culture is essential for an adequate prevention strategy.

Keywords: Aislamiento de pacientes; Cuidados críticos; Intensive care; Patient isolation; Patient safety; Seguridad del paciente.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Critical Illness*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units / statistics & numerical data*
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Medical Errors / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Isolation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Safety / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Safety Management
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors