c. Urinals and Bedpans. Urine and feces should be flushed down the toilet
when the hospital uses a municipal or other safe sewage treatment system. A urinal
and/or bedpan, if needed, should be issued to and used by only one patient until
decontaminated and resterilized. Autoclaving is the most reliable decontamination
system. Steam hoppers do not sterilize these utensils and may even create bacterial or
viral aerosols. Disposable urinals and bedpans are available and may be used for
patients in isolation. They should be disposed of in the same manner as dressings and
d. Thermometers. Special precautions with nondisposable thermometers are
needed for certain categories of isolation. In these instances, the thermometer remains
in the patient's room in a container with disinfectant prepared according to local SOP.
Every three days, the disinfectant is flushed down the toilet and the container washed,
dried, and refilled. Thermometers should be rinsed in cold water before and after use.
(1) Oral thermometers may be kept dry instead of soaking in a disinfectant
solution. Before each use, however, they should be washed with soap and water and
wiped with 70 to 90 percent alcohol.
(2) Upon discharge of the patient, nondisposable thermometers should be
wrapped and sent to Central Supply for sterilization.
SUPPLIES AND OTHER ITEMS
a. Dressings and Tissues. All dressings, paper tissues, and other disposable
items soiled by respiratory, oral, or wound secretions must be considered potentially
infective and disposed of accordingly even if the patient is not isolated. Disposal may
call for single or double disposable bag techniques. Bags should be impervious. When
removed from patient areas, the bags should be closed, sealed, and placed in a larger
disposable bag or container. Ultimate disposal is by incineration or placement in a
properly supervised and maintained sanitary landfill. Appropriate disposable bags must
always be available at the patient's bedside.
b. Linen. All mattresses and pillows for patients in isolation should be covered
with impervious plastic. The double-bag technique discussed below should be used
when removing linen and other contaminated articles from rooms of patients in isolation.
If the inner bag is made of plastic that is hot water soluble, handling of these
potentially contaminated linens is reduced. Disposable linens can be used for
patients in isolation.
The articles are placed in a clean bag in the contaminated area and
(2) The bag is then placed in a second bag, preferably of a different color,
which is held by a person or supported by a hamper outside the patient's room.