Restriction is used proactively to protect other hospitalized animals from exposure to infectious diseases by temporarily isolating a patient until its infection status has been clarified. Cage Restriction is initiated to contain a potential pathogen that has not yet been identified. The objective is to limit contact with the pathogen, by limiting the number of individuals in contact with the patient, limiting patient movement in the clinic, and carefully restricting the use of equipment and supplies to an individual cage.
Use of Restriction and Communication
- Cage Restriction status requires mandatory clear communication between the attending clinician, and the patient care area supervisor along with the HWC Operations Manager.
- When the presence of a pathogen has been identified or is strongly suspected by a clinician, cage restriction is not a substitute for movement of the animal to isolation.
- Persons in contact with patients with an antimicrobial resistant infection shall wear examination gloves and a long-sleeved apron or lab coat when handling the patient or materials that have been in contact with the patient.
- Hands should be thoroughly washed immediately after handling the animal and after glove removal.
- A space on the floor will be marked off by red tape in front of the animals’ cage to provide a visible barrier and mini-isolation.
- All waste and contaminated items should be disposed of in a biohazard bag to be placed in trash for incineration. Sharps items should be placed in an appropriate sharps container.
- The patient will be removed from its cage only when necessary. Patients needing diagnostic or surgical procedures should be scheduled after all other patients when feasible. Clinical area supervisors should be alerted to the status of the patient and will coordinate transport and procedures to minimize contamination and ensure use of protocols.
- If the patient's cage requires frequent cleaning, additional cages should be assigned for exclusive use by the patient.
- When the patient is discharged or moved to another area of the hospital, the supervisor of that clinical area shall be notified so that the cage and cart (if used) can be properly cleaned and disinfected.
- Animal technicians are to use an appropriate disinfectant and cleaning equipment that is assigned to this patient when cleaning the cage. To reduce contamination, the cleaning equipment must not be used to clean other areas.
- Patients may be moved to another housing area within the hospital with approval from the clinical area supervisor and use of appropriate contamination protocols.
- Restriction cages are “off limits” to visitors. Only personnel immediately concerned with the restricted patient shall be allowed entry. Some visitations may occur with proper senior clinician and area supervisor approval.