Contact precautions, the use of gloves and gowns, have been widely used for many years to prevent pathogen transmission between patients in health care facilities.
Dr Anthony Harris and colleagues investigate the importance of contact precautions for endemic methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE).
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended contact precautions for patients infected with multidrug-resistant organisms for decades, including in its most recent guidance.
|Observational studies also suggest that contact precautions reduce health care worker interactions with patients|
|Journal of the American Medical Association|
Despite this recommendation, adherence is often variable, owing largely to perceptions that contact precautions are burdensome to use.
Observational studies also suggest that contact precautions are costly, reduce health care worker interactions with patients, and increase anxiety and depression among patients.
Dr Harris' team comments, "More selective use of contact precauations in settings of endemic MRSA and VRE has been suggested, along with reconsideration of legal mandates requiring active surveillance."