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2007 Protective Isolation Policy (71 kB)









Page updated 30 April 2007

Protective Isolation

Key Points

Perform a risk assessment as to the level of protection required

Isolate the patient if necessary

Prepare the patient and the room

Reduce risks by diligent hand hygiene

Post a Protective Precautions (Isolation) Notice on the door

No staff member suffering from any infectious disease (including the common cold and active cold sores) can attend an immunosuppressed patient



Protective isolation aims to protect an immunocompromised patient who is at special risk from environmental organisms or those carried by attending staff and visitors.

Two levels of protective isolation are offered. The majority of cases susceptible to infection are nursed in a separate room with simple precautions to prevent acquisition of attendants' and other patients' micro-organisms. These precautions are listed below. For those profoundly immunosuppressed after total body irradiation and chemotherapy in the bone marrow transplant programme, designated rooms with laminar flow and higher level of precautions may be employed according to a special protocol.

Planning for Protective Isolation

REMEMBER: in order to protect the immunosuppressed individual, staff and visitors who are unwell in any way, for example with coughs and colds, sore throat, herpes simplex, diarrhoea or infected skin lesions, must NOT enter the isolation room.

Patients requiring Protective Isolation may also require Source Isolation if they have an infective condition.


Equipment Required

Outside room:

Inside room:

In the ward:


Protective Isolation Procedure

In the ward:

Inside the room or visiting space:

On leaving the room:


NOTE Alcoholic chlorhexidine or alcohol gel can be used as a substitute for thorough hand-washing before performing a patient task providing the hands are not soiled.


Domestic Cleaning

Daily cleaning of the room should be completed by the ward domestic preferably before cleaning the rest of the ward/floor.

On discharge of the patient, nurses should:

Domestics should then perform ordinary cleaning after patient discharge.

If the patient in Protective Isolation was also infected with, say, MRSA or Streptococcus pyogenes , or glycopeptide-resistant enterococci, even though he was in protective isolation, proper room decontamination should be done before a new patient is admitted. (see policies for Uniforms and Disinfection).

Equipment sent for service or to other units must be accompanied by a Permit to Work Form (see policy for Cleaning Areas used for Source Isolation).