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C. diff is Becoming More Common…Everywhere

By Chris Hermann

We’re in the last few days of November, which is C. diff Awareness Month, and NPR has come out with a report that more cases of C. diff are arising from the community rather than from hospitals. (Here’s the NPR article.)

Clostridium difficile, which affects almost half a million Americans a year and kills nearly 30,000 of them[1], used to primarily be seen in hospitals. However, C. diff is increasingly being seen in the community, outside of hospitals. One theory is that certain food additives and medications – similar to antibiotics – can disturb intestinal flora, allowing naturally-occurring C. diff spores to flourish.

Once hospitalized, it almost doesn’t matter whether a patient contracted C. diff in the community or not. What matters is that they get the care they need to recover…and that their infection isn’t spread to other patients in the hospital. Alcohol-based hand rubs do not kill C. diff spores[2], so it’s important that healthcare providers physically wash their hands with soap and water to prevent accidentally infecting other patients.

When selecting an electronic hand hygiene reminder system, hospitals should choose one that supports different protocols for patient conditions such as C. diff. The Clean Hands – Safe Hands system’s voice reminder changes in C. diff rooms to remind clinicians to use “Soap and water only” and they don’t get credit if they use sanitizer before leaving the room (more info).

For more information about C. diff, visit the C. diff Foundation or the Peggy Lillis Foundation. If you’d like to explore how the Clean Hands – Safe Hands system has reduced HAIs by an average of over 60% in every hospital customer following our process for 6 months…download our whitepaper to discover the process. Or here’s a brief video about how the system works.

[1] Cdc.gov. (2018). Clostridium difficile Infection | HAI | CDC. [online] Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/HAI/organisms/cdiff/Cdiff_infect.html [Accessed 27 Nov. 2018].

[2] Cohen SH, Gerding DN, Johnson S, Kelly CP, Loo VG, McDonald LC et al. Clinical practice guidelines for Clostridium difficile infection in adults: 2010 update by the society for healthcare epidemiology of America (SHEA) and the infectious diseases society of America (IDSA). Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2010; 31(5):431-455.

 

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