Background/Purpose: Early detection and timely quarantine measures are necessary to control disease spread and prevent nosocomial outbreaks of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In this study, we aimed to investigate the impact of a quarantine strategy on patient safety and quality of care. Methods: This retrospective cohort study enrolled patients admitted to the quarantine ward in a tertiary hospital in southern Taiwan. The incidence and causes of acute critical illness, including clinical deterioration and unexpected complications during the quarantine period, were reviewed. Further investigation was performed to identify risk factors for acute critical illness during quarantine. Results: Of 320 patients admitted to the quarantine ward, more than two-thirds were elderly, and 37.8% were bedridden. During the quarantine period, 68 (21.2%) developed acute critical illness, which more commonly occurred among patients older than 80 years and with a bedridden status, nasogastric tube feeding, or dyspnea symptoms. Bedridden status was an independent predictor of acute critical illness. Through optimization of sampling for COVID-19 and laboratory schedules, both the duration of quarantine and the proportion of acute critical illness among bedridden patients during quarantine exhibited a decreasing trend. There was no COVID-19 nosocomial transmission during the study period. Conclusion: The quarantine ward is a key measure to prevent nosocomial transmission of COVID-19 but may carry a potential negative impact on patient care and safety. For patients with multiple comorbidities and a bedridden status, healthcare workers should remain alert to rapid deterioration and unexpected adverse events during quarantine.
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