Isolation precautions are used to keep germs from spreading to others. These precautions sometimes include keeping a person who has certain infections isolated, away from, other St. Jude patients or limiting contact with other patients. If you have questions after reading this information, please ask your child’s doctor, nurse, or another member of your child’s care team.
Why does St. Jude limit contact between patients?
Your child might have an infection that could spread to other St. Jude patients. Limiting your child’s contact with other patients helps lower the risk of spreading the infection. This is important because some infections can be dangerous, especially to children with weak immune systems from cancer treatment. The immune system is the body’s infection-fighting system. Cancer treatment can keep this system from working normally. Also, the antibiotics used to treat infections do not work well against all of them. St. Jude staff members want to avoid infection spreading from your child to someone else.
Are there different types of isolation precautions?
Yes. There are 2 main types of isolation precautions in St. Jude housing. These are based on the type of infection and ways it can spread:
- Droplet-airborne isolation precautions – For infections that travel through the air from coughing or sneezing. Some of these infections spread more easily through the air than others. These require more restrictive isolation precautions.
- Contact isolation precautions – For infections that spread by touching infected patients or by touching surfaces that have germs on them such as doors, light switches, or beds. Also, some of these infections spread more easily than others and require more restrictive isolation precautions to limit their spread.
How do I know if my child is on isolation precautions?
Your child’s primary care team will tell you if your child needs to be on isolation precautions and what type. If you have questions, please ask your child’s care team. We want to make sure you understand how to keep your child and other St. Jude patients safe.
If my child is on isolation precautions, where will we stay?
Sometimes, you can stay in the same St. Jude housing. Other times, we might need you to move to lower the risk of spreading infection. The information below explains where you might move, depending on where you are staying currently and whether you are on restrictive or non-restrictive isolation precautions.
If your child is on restrictive droplet or airborne isolation precautions
If the doctor orders restrictive droplet or airborne isolation precautions, you and your child will be in a room with a door that opens to the outside, if possible. This means you and your child can come and go without going through areas with other patients. This helps lower the risk of infection if your child sneezes or coughs, because these droplet or airborne infections spread through the air.
In St. Jude housing, Target House has 4 outside rooms. Tri Delta Place also has 4 outside rooms. If an outside room is not available, you and your child will stay in a room or suite at Tri Delta Place or an apartment at Target House.
If your child is on non-restrictive droplet precautions
If the doctor orders non-restrictive droplet precautions, you and your child will stay in any available room in St. Jude housing. A room or apartment with a door that opens to the outside is not needed. But, your child should wear a facemask at all times when outside the apartment. You should clean your hands and your child’s hands often with alcohol-based hand cleaner or washing with soap and water.
If your child is on restrictive contact isolation precautions
If the doctor orders restrictive contact isolation precautions, usually you and your child can stay in a room or suite at Tri Delta Place with a door that opens to the inside of the building. Or, you and your child might stay in an apartment at Target House. This depends on the type of infection your child has. Some children in restrictive contact isolation need a room or suite with an outside door. If an outside room is not available, you might be placed in a hotel.
If you are currently in an apartment at Ronald McDonald House, you will stay there if your child is on restrictive contact isolation precautions. If you are in a room, not an apartment, you will move to Tri Delta Place or Target House if possible. The rooms at Ronald McDonald House share a kitchen. If you use the shared kitchen after spending time in your child’s room, you could spread infection to other patients and families on the kitchen surfaces. This could happen even if you wash your hands and try to stay as clean as possible. The St. Jude staff members want to keep all patients safe from infection.
If your child is on non-restrictive contact precautions
If the doctor orders non-restrictive contact precautions, you and your child can stay in any available room in St. Jude housing. A room or apartment with a door that opens to the outside is not needed. But, you should clean your hands and your child’s hands often.
What rules must be followed on restrictive isolation precautions?
When on restrictive isolation precautions in St. Jude housing , your child should stay in the private room. Your child must not go to any common areas during isolation. If your child does go into common areas during restrictive isolation, we might ask you to leave St. Jude housing and stay somewhere else.
When going to and from a Tri Delta Place or Target House room, your child should avoid touching any surfaces, such as walls, counters, or anything else. You and your child should not ride the elevator with any other patients or families.
When traveling to and from the hospital, your child must ride in your own car or Housing and Patient Services can arrange rides to keep your child away from other patients.
You and other family members may leave your St. Jude housing apartment if needed. But, please avoid going to the common areas as much as possible. Before you leave your child’s room, you and other family members and visitors should clean your hands. Also, clean your hands after you come back before you touch your child or anything else.
What rules must be followed on non-restrictive isolation precautions?
When on non-restrictive isolation precautions in St. Jude housing, your child may leave the apartment and go to common areas. Before you leave your child’s room, you, your child, other family members and visitors should clean your hands well. Also, clean your hands after you come back before you touch your child or anything else.
On non-restrictive droplet precautions, your child must wear a face mask at all times when outside the apartment. If your child has trouble wearing a mask at all times, the doctor will place your child on restrictive isolation precautions to protect other patients and staff.
When traveling to and from the hospital, your child can ride the St. Jude shuttle buses with other patients.
My child is not in isolation. Do other children on isolation precautions put my child at risk in St. Jude housing?
No. Patients on droplet isolation precautions must wear face masks while walking through St. Jude housing to their rooms or apartments. After that, they must stay in their rooms at all times if they are on restrictive isolation precautions. We ask everyone staying in St. Jude housing to clean their hands often and not touch surfaces in common areas, as much as possible.
Sanitizing wipes are offered on each St. Jude housing floor near the elevator. You can use these to clean the elevator buttons and the railing in the elevator if you touch these areas. Please put these wipes in a trash can when you leave the elevator.
How else can I lower the risk of spreading infections?
Clean your hands and your child’s hands often. Use soap and water or an alcohol-based cleaning gel or foam. Good hand cleaning is the best way to prevent infection. Read “Do You Know… Clean Hands.”
Avoid touching surfaces around you in hallways and elevators. Touching things is the main way to spread infection.
If you or other family members have cold or flu symptoms, such as a fever, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, or sore throat, do not visit the common areas in St. Jude housing. Wear a face mask when you walk through the hospital. You can ask for a face mask at your child’s clinic or the front desk of your St. Jude housing.
This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.
St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.
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