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Experience of source isolation during hospitalization – a qualitative study


This study explored and describes the factors that may influence how patients react to source isolation from others during hospitalization.


The study also sought to determine how background variables such as gender, age and previous hospitalization affect source isolation.


This qualitative study used content analysis to review data collected from interviews with five patients.

The conceptual framework describes antibiotic resistance and infection control from a public health perspective and explored its prevention in Denmark.

The theoretical framework describes how patients experience an infection acquired by exposure to drug-resistant bacteria, as well as subsequent isolation.


The limited space, lack of contact with people resulted in patient monotony and anxiety.

Women showed greater concern about precautions against infection, and about risk of transmitting disease to visitors.

Men outwardly resigned themselves to the situation and did not speculate about infection precautions. Men had a more rational approach, and tended to cope better when isolated.

Younger patients seemed to have better coping strategy during isolation.

Elderly patients felt sad and lonely.

Patients developed their own strategies for coping with source isolation.


Hospitals need more alternatives (e.g., better training and improved treatment) to prevent negative psychological affects due to isolation without compromising infection prevention. Hospitals should update their personnel at all organization levels, and focus on room facilities in the ward, contact time and improved information. Risk assessment should be individualized for each patient.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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Madsen, A. Experience of source isolation during hospitalization – a qualitative study. Antimicrob Resist Infect Control 4 (Suppl 1), P95 (2015).

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