Barriers to healthcare worker compliance with contact precautions: A systematic review

Kathy Duggan1, Mary-Anne Ramis1

1Mater Health, South Brisbane, Australia


Transmission-based precautions are a set of practices used in addition to standard precautions when the suspected or confirmed presence of certain infectious agents represents an increased risk of transmission, and when a further reduction in transmission opportunities of the microorganism from one person to another is desired. They comprise three types: contact, droplet and airborne. Contact precautions (CP), as the name suggests, are used in the case of microorganisms that are known to be spread by contact.

The catalyst for this review was a recurring sentence heard from a number patients being looked after under CP. That sentence was “They stand at the door and yell at me”. Another inspiration was the knowledge that various facilities interpret differently the point at which the personal protective equipment (PPE) is donned when CP are in use.

The objective of this review is to identify the experiences and perceptions of healthcare workers in acute facilities when using PPE with patients who require contact precautions. More specifically, the objective is to identify health care workers’ perspective of compliance with the directive to don gloves and an apron or long-sleeved gown upon entry to the room of patients who require contact precautions.


The systematic review will be conducted in accordance with the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) methodology for systematic reviews of qualitative evidence and will follow guidance from the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA).


The review is underway and preliminary results will be presented


Kathy Duggan has worked in the field if Infection Control for the past 20 years, firstly for Sunshine Coast Health Service District and most recently for Mater Health in Brisbane. Prior to this she worked as a Registered or Clinical Nurse in a wide variety of clinical areas. Kathy has completed a Masters of Advanced Practice (Infection Control) through Griffith University.

She has a particular interest in how procedures are actually implemented in practice and believes that healthcare staff like to understand why things are done.

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