FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Hospital reduces C. difficile incidence through rigorous interventions

Rhode Island Hospital successfully reduced incidence of hospital-associated Clostridium difficile infections by 70 percent after the successive implementation of five rigorous interventions, according to a recently published report.

According to the report, which was published in the July issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, the hospital also reduced annual mortality in patients with hospital-associated C. difficile by 64 percent. C. difficile is a toxin-producing bacterium that can cause life-threatening infections in patients receiving antibiotic therapy.

"Hospital-acquired infections are a major concern for hospitals across the country and C. difficile is among the most dangerous," Leonard Mermel, the study's principal investigator, said. "The risks to patients are enormous, as is the excess associated hospital cost."

Mermel and his colleagues implemented a multi-step process to measure and reduce the incidence of hospital-acquired C. difficile. The process included the development and implementation of an infection control plan, monitoring additional data sets, improving sensitivity of C. difficile toxin detection to reduce false-negative results and increased environmental cleaning of patient rooms and equipment.

"This is a significant, hospital-wide effort involving the support of hospital administration, the department of epidemiology and infection control, nursing, medicine, surgery, pathology, pharmacy, environmental services and the microbiology lab," Mermel said. "It is truly a multi-disciplinary effort to make the hospital safer for our patients, their families and our staff. By working together to better monitor those patients at risk, enhance the cleaning of patient rooms and equipment, and to use contact precautions as appropriate, we were able to significantly reduce the risk of this virulent infection and ultimately to provide better, safer patient care."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 94 percent of C. difficile infections are replaced to receiving medical care. Hospital stays from the infection tripled in the last decade. C. difficile causes diarrhea that is associated with 14,000 deaths in the U.S. annually.