National Initiative to Prevent C diff Infection
As more Americans are living longer today, clinicians are treating more age related illnesses than ever before. In particular, the suseptibility of Clostridium difficile infection (C diff) in older Americans. A recent CDC study reveals infections among patients in hospitals and nursing homes indicates in every setting that the risks of infection and death increase with age. C diff caused nearly half a million infections among US patients in a single year and almost 29,000 died within 30 days of diagnosis.
The study also revealed two thirds of every HAI C diff infection occur in patients 65 and older, and 80% of those result in death. Of those deaths, one out of nine occur within 30 days of initial diagnosis.
Inadequate infection control and disinfection practice has contributed to the rise in C diff infection, not only within the healthcare facility but also during transportation of infected patients from facility to facility. Clostridium difficile bacteria can live for long periods of time on devices and equipment surfaces like gurneys, tables, and toilets. These and other surfaces where patients may come in contact with the bacteria should be thoroughly cleaned on a daily basis while treating a patient with C diff and then upon discharge or transfer of the patient.
C. difficile infections are at an all-time high.
C. difficile germs move with patients from one health care facility to another, infecting other patients.
C. difficile infections can be prevented.
Early results from hospital prevention projects show 20% fewer C. difficile infections in less than 2 years with infection prevention and control measures.
England decreased C. difficile infection rates in hospitals by more than half in 3 years by using infection control recommendations and more careful antibiotic use.
For Clinicians: 6 Steps to Prevention
1. Prescribe and use antibiotics carefully. About 50% of all antibiotics given are not needed, unnecessarily raising the risk of C. difficile infections.
2. Test for C. difficile when patients have diarrhea while on antibiotics or within several months of taking them.
3. Isolate patients with C. difficile immediately.
4. Wear gloves and gowns when treating patients with C. difficile, even during short visits. Hand sanitizer does not kill C. difficile, and hand washing may not be sufficient.
5. Clean room surfaces with bleach or another EPA-approved, spore-killing disinfectant after a patient with C. difficile has been treated there.
6. When a patient transfers, notify the new facility if the patient has a C. difficile infection.
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