Standard Precautions

  • Practices and personal protective equipment designed to prevent healthcare workers from transmitting infections to themselves or to other patients within healthcare settings
    • Combines major features of Universal Precautions and Body Substance Isolation
    • Based on the principle that all blood, body fluids, secretions, excretions (except sweat), non-intact skin, and mucous membranes may contain transmissible infectious agents
    • Applies to all patients in all healthcare settings, regardless of suspected or confirmed infection status
  • Also applicable when caring for externally and/or internally contaminated radiation event victims
    • Standard precautions provide healthcare workers working in post-decontamination areas of the hospital with adequate protection against potential contamination of themselves and others
    • NOTE: Some radiological materials are excreted in sweat
  • Practices most relevant to the care of externally and/or internally contaminated radiation event victims include
    • Use of gloves, gown, eye protection or face shield, and appropriate respiratory protection (based on the anticipated level of healthcare worker-patient interaction)
    • Safe handling of equipment or other items likely to have been contaminated with body fluids in a manner that prevents transmission of radiological material to the healthcare workers or to other patients
  • Proper application depends on
    • The nature of the healthcare worker-patient interaction
    • The extent of anticipated contact with blood, body fluids, secretions, excretions
  • Includes education and training on principles and rationale for recommended practices
    • Facilitates appropriate decision-making and future adherence
  • Standard precautions (plus reverse isolation practices and procedures) should be used by healthcare workers caring for neutropenic radiation victims
References:
  1. Standard Precautions: Overview (HHS/CDC)
  2. Infection Control Basics (HHS/CDC)
  3. Standard Precautions for All Patient Care (HHS/CDC)
  4. Using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (HHS/CDC)
  5. Tools for Infection Control in Healthcare Settings (HHS/CDC)

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