9.6 Radiopharmaceutical Patient Isolation Precautions

The following isolation precautions are required for patients receiving radiopharmaceuticals that do not meet the patient release criteria.  Radiopharmaceutical therapy patients who require hospitalization for other medical reasons are also normally isolated while hospitalized in order to control radiation exposure and radioactive contamination.  

  • Unless otherwise noted, hospitalized patients receiving radiopharmaceutical therapy require a private hospital room with a private bath.
  • Iodine-131 therapy patients are normally required to be housed in a lead-lined room on 3 JPP.
  • The patient’s room door must be posted with a “Caution – Radioactive Materials/Radiation Area” warning sign.
  • Complete Part A of EHS’s “Radiation Protection Guidelines for Patients Treated with Radioactive Materials” form and attach it to the patient’s chart. 
  • Contact EHS to arrange for patient monitoring immediately following the radiopharmaceutical administration.  An EHS representative will perform the required patient dose rate measurements and complete Part B of the “Radiation Protection Guidelines for Patients Treated with Radioactive Materials” form and attach it to the patient’s chart.  The completed form provides patient specific information regarding radiation exposure levels, recommended attendant and visitor stay times, and other patient care guidance.  This information is also posted on the door to the patient’s room.
  • When entering the patient’s room following the administration of the radiopharmaceutical, use protective apparel and any other radiation safety instructions posted on the door to the patient’s room and included on the “Radiation Protection Guidelines for Patients Treated with Radioactive Materials” form, attached to the patient’s chart.
  • Pregnant visitors or staff and individuals under the age of 18 are normally not permitted in a radiopharmaceutical therapy patient’s room.  No visitors are typically permitted in a radioiodine therapy patient’s room. 
  • Patients treated with therapeutic quantities of radioactive materials are normally confined to their rooms except as necessary for medical or nursing procedures.
  • When transporting patients who have received radiopharmaceutical therapy, the gurney or wheelchair used for transport should be surveyed to ensure that no radioactive contamination is present prior to returning it to service.
  • Laboratory procedures should be performed as ordered.  However, laboratory specimens should be labeled as “radioactive” and returned to Nuclear Medicine for disposal.
  • Bodily fluids and excreta from radiopharmaceutical patients are potentially contaminated with radioactive material and should be handled accordingly.  Notify EHS of any spills of bodily fluids or excreta from a radiopharmaceutical patient.  
  • All items in a radiopharmaceutical therapy patient’s room, including the room itself and its fixtures, should be considered contaminated with radioactive material until surveyed and released by EHS.