Many hospitals have a large population of older patients who are disproportionately affected by Clostridium difficile (C. diff). To safeguard the health of its patients, South Nassau Communities Hospital established an ongoing multidisciplinary task force who identified four significant areas of opportunity: environmental cleaning practices; overprescribing antibiotics; inappropriate diagnostic testing; and clinical care of C. diff patients.
Following a hospital-wide education program, a C. diff protocol was developed, mandating that infected patients be placed in private rooms and remain in isolation until discharged. To stem antibiotic resistance, South Nassau Communities Hospital embarked upon a major antimicrobial stewardship campaign aimed at optimizing appropriate antibiotic usage and duration of therapy. The hospital also invested in a steam vapor system to help remove C. diff spores from environmental surfaces in patients’ rooms. In addition, an algorithm to properly use the more accurate Polymerase Chain Reaction testing for C. diff was built into the EMR.
As a result, by 2014, South Nassau’s C. diff incidence rate had fallen to 12.3 per 10,000 patient days; by year-end 2016, it dropped to 6.4.