Fighting Infections With Duct Tape

Would you believe that hospitals are using duct tape to keep caregivers away from patients who are contagious? No, it’s not to protect the patients in any way; it’s to protect the caregivers!
Hospitals in the Quad Cities area in Illinois and Iowa are now marking off an area with red duct tape near the door to rooms where patients with infectious conditions are housed, and nurses and other caregivers are instructed not to venture further into the room. The explanation is that it takes the nurse too much time to don the protective gear of gown, mask, and gloves in order to answer a patient’s call bell. The area is a 3-foot by 3-foot floor space in front of the door into the patient’s room. It is from this space that the nurse must tend to the patient. If they venture beyond this box, they must put on the required gear.
It is estimated from a recent study done by Janet Nau Franck, a registered nurse and independent consultant at Trinty Medical Center, that the hospital would save more than 2,700 hours and $110,000 over the course of a year. No one has asked the patients how they like this arrangement. People in isolation already get fewer routine attention, like vital signs taken on a regular schedule, less cleaning service, and fewer doctors’ visits, as well as briefer notes from doctors. The fact that these patients already feel alone and isolated is not taken into consideration.
If you are planning a hospital stay, check to see if that hospital is adopting the red duct tape system. With many more drug-resistant infections around today, you could end up in just such an isolation room. A hospital is the most likely place to catch such an infection.


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