Principles of barrier nursing in the veterinary hospital

01 June 2011
14 mins read
Volume 2 · Issue 5


This article aims to remind the reader of the importance of following barrier nursing techniques when patients are in isolation. It covers not only the use of personal protective clothing and equipment to protect veterinary nurses and patients and disinfection of the unit, but also how important the psychological needs of patients are as well as effective communication between veterinarians, nurses and clients.

Barrier nursing is a term used to describe the care of patients with infectious diseases (Guthrie and Lane, 2006). Specific protocols are put in place to ensure there is minimal risk of cross contamination between patients and the person responsible for their care. The patients are usually isolated from the main hospital area and excellent hygiene and disinfection protocols are followed.

It can be easy in everyday practice to become blasé about nursing patients in isolation. The extra care and precautions can be time consuming and in a busy practice, this can lead to the cutting of corners. However this can have catastrophic consequences for the welfare of other patients in the hospital, the welfare of other animals in the community, and in some cases human health and wellbeing can also suffer.

Veterinary nurses need to understand the importance of maintaining standards set out by barrier nursing protocols, how to provide holistic care to patients in isolation, as well as how to keep themselves and other patients safe. It is vital that good barrier nursing protocols are in place to prevent a potential crisis from occurring.

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