Transmission of an infectious agent requires a source of infection, a mode of transmission, and a vulnerable host. The most important interventions for preventing infection transmission are hand hygiene and use of standard precautions for all patients. Other precautions are based on how an organism is transmitted; these include contact, airborne, and droplet precautions. The cornerstone of transmission-based precautions is appropriate use of personal protective equipment to protect personnel and patients from infection. This article discusses key takeaways from the “AORN guideline for transmission-based precautions,” including using standard precautions; wearing personal protective equipment when exposure to blood, body fluids, or other potentially infectious materials is anticipated; and using contact precautions during care of patients known or suspected to be infected or colonized with pathogens transmitted by direct or indirect contact. Perioperative RNs should review the complete guideline for additional information and for guidance when writing and updating policies and procedures.
Key words: multidrug-resistant organisms, standard precautions, contact precautions, personal protective equipment, hand hygiene.