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Isolation Protocols

Isolation Unit Basics and Communication

  • Access to the Isolation area requires orientation by an HWC supervisor, or EAMS clinician, house officer, or staff.
  • Traffic in the isolation ward shall be restricted to that necessary for optimal care.
  • PPE is mandatory and outlined on the PPE instructional poster
  • Isolation status requires mandatory communication from the attending clinician to EAMS Technical staff, Attendant staff, and an HWC supervisor.
  • The senior clinician is responsible for informing all personnel, which may have contact with an animal, about the nature of the infectious disease(s) to be encountered.
  • Patients diagnosed with or suspect of having a zoonotic disease require further special management, including contact logs and mandatory communications.
  • If an animal in isolation is to be discharged to a client’s property at the request of the client, but against the advice of the clinicians, the discharge comments must clearly state that:
    • The patient is discharged against Veterinary Health Complex (VHC) advice.
    • The patient may present a zoonotic risk to humans (if applicable).
    • The patient may present an infectious disease risk to other animals on the property.
  • The client will be informed and educated about Salmonella when any patient tests positive for Salmonella regardless of the clinical status.

Isolation Unit Setup and Management

  • There are TWO separate isolation chambers that are equipped with a negative air flow system providing 15-20 air exchanges per minute. This allows for 2 patients to be housed in the Isolation Ward at one time.
  • To the extent possible, diagnostic and therapeutic procedures shall be performed in the ward. When procedures outside the ward are necessary, these procedures shall be cleared and scheduled with the responsible staff members to minimize contact with other patients, and to ensure complete and immediate decontamination following the procedure.
  • Patients in the isolation ward shall be examined and treated AFTER other hospitalized patients.
  • Items brought into the isolation ward for care of the patient shall be disposed of following use, or shall be thoroughly disinfected and / or autoclaved prior to returning to general use.  If more than one patient is housed in this area each patient will have their own supplies and any equipment needed to be used on both patients will be disinfected and / or autoclaved between uses.
  • Waste leaving the isolation area shall be placed in a biohazard bag, it will be double bagged, labeled, and transported directly for incineration.
  • Dirty linen is placed in a red biodegradable bag and transported to the dirty laundry bin for removal.
  • If a patient with a disease requiring isolation is transferred from a regular ward to isolation, the cage previously occupied by that animal shall be thoroughly disinfected. If the patient had salmonellosis, the cage shall be demonstrated to be culture negative for Salmonella before being occupied by another patient.
  • When the patient is discharged, the supervisor of that clinical area shall be notified so that the cage and isolation ward can be properly cleaned and disinfected.
  • One kennel technician shall be assigned on a rotating basis for cleaning of the ward. Unless otherwise instructed, the technician will utilize the routine cleaning protocol. If a modification of this protocol is needed in order to ensure adequate killing of organisms, the clinician shall inform the nursing supervisor.

Visitors (Non-CVM persons)

  • Are permitted visitation at the discretion of the attending clinician. 
  • Visitor must be oriented by the attending clinician or house officer, including proper ppe use, safety precautions, health risks, risk to other animals, etc.
  • Visitor must be accompanied by a service member at all times, no exceptions
  • Visitor is not permitted to re-enter the main hospital after visiting the isolation area.  They must exit through the closest exterior door.  Attending clinician or house officer shall instruct the visitor on how to properly decontaminate themselves to avoid transmission to animals or people.