When it comes to infectious diseases and outbreaks, one of the most vital parts of ensuring the health and wellness of your staff and overall patient population is contact tracing. At NYICCS, we provide vital knowledge and education to your staff and in-house infection preventionist (IP) to effectively identify and trace the source of infections and outbreaks, while monitoring and providing vital assistance to those who might have had contact with infected individuals and infections.
What is Contact Tracing?
Those who have been in close proximity with an infected individual are at a much higher risk of infection, and therefore causing the further spread of infections and infectious diseases themselves. It is vital to monitor such individuals following their exposure, and provide them with the necessary care and treatment as well as to possibly quarantine them in order to limit the possibility of any future transmission of viruses and infections. This process is often referred to as contact tracing.
Contact Tracing can be broken down into three distinct phases.
- Contact Identification: When an infection has been identified and someone is confirmed to be infected with a virus or some disease, its important to identify any and all individuals they have come into contact with since their infection. At NYICCS, we work closely with your in-house team and IPs to do just that. This process is done by outlining what activities the infected individual has taken part in, where they have gone, what they have done, and who they might have come into contact with since their infection. This can include anyone from family members, friends, and colleagues, to health care workers and providers who have cared for them.
- Listing of Contacts: Any and all individuals who have come into contact with said individual since their infection is now considered a contact, and must be added to a list. Each of these individuals will now need to be contacted, and informed of the possibility of infection, what the infection entails, symptoms to look out for, and what precisely they need to do now in order to seek treatment and care - especially if they begin to exhibit symptoms. For many high-risk cases, and even low-risk cases, quarantines and isolation may be required. Depending on the specific situation this may mean within a hospital setting or at home.
- Follow-Ups & Care: All contacts need to be monitored, and kept up with in case they begin to exhibit any symptoms or signs of infections. In addition, it is important to provide them with the necessary care they need, if they do begin to fall ill, and to quarantine them, in order to prevent the future spread of the infection.
Educating Your Team on Contact Tracing
At NYICCS, we will work closely with your team and in-house infection preventionist, to understand the best overall practices for contact tracing and precisely how to manage things moving forward. For more information on contact tracing and other infection control and prevention protocols, be sure to contact NYICCS today.