Do you code isolation if the residents are not in private rooms?

Q: We have an outbreak of a GI virus and have isolated everyone in their rooms in order to control the spread of infection. Although the manual states that this is appropriate to be coded as “isolation” on the MDS 3.0, it also clearly says in a “private room.” Residents whom we would code are symptomatic, have physician documentation, and are requiring more than “standard precautions”, however they are not in private rooms due to a lack of availability. Should we code them as isolation?

A: During a recent Open Door Forum call, CMS stated that you can only code item O0100M Isolation or quarantine for active infectious disease only if the resident is isolated in a private room.


  1. Kara Anderson LPN, MDS Coordinator

    We have a resident whom requires contact precautions. He is in a room that could accomodate another roommate but due to the residents infections, he will not have a roommate, indicating he is in a “private” room. Can I code precautions on the MDS then? In the event we needed additional rooms for new admits, we would look into moving him to a designated private room but our facility is small and we only have two designated private rooms. What are your recommendations?

  2. Pam,

    You cannot code isolation when two residents share a semi-private room, even if both residents have the same infection. The resident must be in a completely private room to code isolation.


    I believe you would be able to code this as isolation as the person is alone in the room. But I will double check that and get back to you.



  3. KathyLynn,

    If a facility transports a resident who meets the criteria for strict isolation to another healthcare setting to receive medically needed services (e.g. dialysis, chemotherapy, blood transfusions, etc.) which the facility does not or cannot provide, they should follow CDC guidelines for transport of patients with communicable disease, and may still code O0100M for strict isolation since it is still being maintained while the resident is in the facility.

    Thanks for your question,

  4. Beth

    We are getting a new resident who has MRSA in a leg wound and also has C diff. We are putting her in a room by herself for at least 24 hours. My ED says we can code isolation on MDS. This person does not necessarily need more than standard precautions. Does this qualify for isolation and..if we do code this item what specifics need to be in our documentation?

  5. Hi Kris,

    Stefanie’s response to your inquiry is as follows: Although residents with neutropenic precautions are at-risk for developing infections, different facilities have different policies on whether they should be isolated in private rooms for their safety. Research supports the fact that residents with neutropenic precautions may safely cohabitate. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has clarified the requirement to code O0100M, Isolation or Quarantine for Active Infectious Disease, on the Minimum Data Set, version 3.0 (MDS 3.0) as the following:
    -Code only when the resident requires strict isolation or quarantine alone in a separate room because of active infection (i.e., symptomatic and/or have a positive test and are in the contagious stage) with a communicable disease, in an attempt to prevent spread of illness. In other words, coding for isolation should be based on the isolated resident having a communicable disease and the potential risk of spreading it to other residents.
    -Do not code this item if the precautions are standard precautions, because these types of precautions apply to everyone. Standard precautions include hand hygiene compliance, glove use, and additionally may include masks, eye protection, and gowns.

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