How Hospital Staffers can help fight C-diff

If you are a hospital worker, healthcare volunteer or nursing home professional, you can help prevent C-diff infections. Whether it’s your job to nurse the C-diff patient back to health, bathe them or simply clean their room, you can turn around the spread of this terrible infection and save somebody’s life.

Understanding C-diff Guidelines

To understand how you can prevent the spread of C-diff, guidelines are important.

First, what is C-diff? C-diff is a bacteria that is found in human feces. How is this infection spread? Healthcare workers can spread the bacteria to patients or contaminate surfaces through hand contact. Any high-touch surface, device, or material––such as toilets or water faucets rectal thermometers–– that becomes contaminated with feces is dangerous.

What is the best way to combat C-diff? The answer is simple: good hygiene. If hospital staff consistently practices good hygienic protocol, the number of C-diff infections in hospitals and nursing care facilities can dramatically drop. Statistics show that over a two-year period hospitals that have followed good C-diff guidelines have seen a 20 percent decrease in hospital-associated C-diff infections. Communication is key to a successful hygienic protocol; share information with all team members’ care for your patient.

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Be Aware of Hospital High-Touch Areas

Results from a recent swabbing test of North Texas healthcare facilities indicates that healthcare workers and volunteers should be aware of high-touch, high-contamination surfaces. The swabbing study showed that exam tables, computer keyboards, light switches, door handles, faucet handles, toilet handles and curtain wands all revealed C-diff spore contamination. Make sure that these surfaces are cleaned regularly with bleach or another EPA-approved, spore-killing disinfectant.

The Hospital Staff Checklist

94 percent of C-diff infections are related to receiving professional medical care. Hospital associated infections, such as C-diff, can be reduced if every healthcare professional would follow this checklist:

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Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the restroom and before eating

When working with C-diff patients use gloves and gowns when entering the room and during patient care

Report any patient experiencing diarrhea

Reassess antibiotic use when someone displays C-diff symptoms

Clean room surfaces with bleach or another EPA-approved, spore-killing disinfectant after a patient with C-diff has been treated there

When a patient transfers, notify the new facility if the patient has a C-diff infection

Use gloves and gowns when working around a suspected C-diff sufferer

Use contact precautions for duration of diarrhea

Suggest testing to the attending physician

Routinely clean and disinfect all equipment

Place these patients in private rooms or with other patients with C-diff

The Costs of C-diff*

$6,000 to $9,000 is the estimated hospital cost per infection

1.8 billion is the estimated cost per year

3 The cost of a patient with C-diff is three times higher than one with out

94%of C-diff infections are connected with getting medical care

*Patient Safety Summit, 2014