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The dying touch: infection control at the end of life
  1. Lynn J Parker, Co-founder
  1. Healthcare A2Z Ltd, Cambridge, Independent Infection Control Nurse Adviser, Lecturer for the Foundation Degree in Health and Social Care, University of Bradford, and External Marker for Distance Learning Centre and Palliative Care, University of Dundee. Email: lynn.parker{at}


Vulnerable individuals who use healthcare services are susceptible to the possibility of acquiring a healthcare-associated infection (HCAI). Government guidance has concentrated on providing strategies that assist in the reduction of such infections. All organisations that provide health and social care should have policies and procedures in place to reduce the risk of patients acquiring an infection. It is as important for those at the end of life to receive the same standard and level of care to prevent and treat infections as patients who are expected to return to full health. However, practitioners must be sensitive to the psychological effects of infection control procedures, such as wearing gloves, and isolation practices on people who are at the end of their lives. Consequently, infection control guidelines may need to be adapted for this patient group. The purpose of this article is to provide recommendations for infection control with regard to the care of dying people. Conflicts of interest: none

  • End of life
  • Infection, prevention and control
  • MRSA

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