Nursing, Personal Care Attendant (PCA)

Standard Precautions or Universal Precautions

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Transmission-Based Precautions: CDC: When caring for persons who are infected, or suspected of being infected, with a disease, standard precautions are not sufficient. In such cases, Transmission-Based or Isolation Precautions are needed. These precautions will be listed in the patient’s Care Plan, and you would be advised of them. They will also be applied over and above the standard precautions. Transmission-based precautions include “airborne precautions”, “Droplet Precautions”, and “Contact Precautions”.


Airborne precautions: Airborne precautions: are used when pathogens can be expelled through the air in diseases such as tuberculosis, measles, and chickenpox. The pathogens are so small, they can attach to some moisture and linger in the air for a while. Your agency and the Care Plan would have special procedures for you to follow, including at times special masks.


Droplet precautions: Droplet precautions: are used when the pathogens can travel only a short distance after being expelled from the carrier in coughing, sneezing, or even laughing, such as when the carrier has the mumps. Uninfected visitors are usually restricted, and care procedures would involve you wearing a mask, and being alert to traveling pathogens in the air, therefore covering your mouth when sneezing and frequent hand washing.


Contact precautions: Contact precautions: are used when the risk is from skin-to-skin contact, such as in assisting with ambulating, bathing, or toileting. Care precautions include washing your hands with special antimicrobial (against microbes) soap, and restrict ungloved hands to non-infected areas, and gloved gloves to infected areas.