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Reverse Isolation

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 2, 2022.

What is reverse isolation?

Reverse isolation is used to protect you from germs when your immune system is not working properly. Germs can be carried on droplets in the air, medical equipment, or another person's body or clothing. Healthcare providers will talk with you about the kinds of precautions you need based on your health. You may need to limit visitors.

What do I need to know about reverse isolation?

  • Your reverse isolation needs may change over time. You may need fewer restrictions as your blood counts increase.
  • You may start to feel lonely. This may happen if you have to limit visitors or are not allowed visitors for a time. You may also notice that healthcare providers are coming into your room less often. Healthcare providers sometimes limit the number of times they enter the room to lower the risk for infection. They will come into your room when you need any care.

What do I need to tell visitors about reverse isolation?

  • Everyone must wash their hands before and after visiting you. A handwashing station will be outside your room for all visitors to use. Healthcare providers will also wash their hands before and after caring for you. Tell visitors to use soap and running water to wash their hands.
  • Everyone will need to wear protective gear. Anyone who visits you will need to put on a medical mask, gown, and gloves before entering your room. Healthcare providers who care for you will also use this equipment. The materials will be available outside your room.
  • Anyone who is sick should not enter the room. A sick person will bring germs into your room. Ask anyone who is sick to wait until he or she is better before visiting you.
  • Do not bring plants into the room. Living plants may have germs growing from the soil or water.
  • Do not bring food into the room. Food can carry germs. Food that is not cooked properly can make you sick.
  • Do not share personal items. Some examples are drinking glasses, eating utensils, and bath towels. Objects brought into your room by visitors may carry germs.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.