One Hospital System’s Journey to Reduce Clostridium Difficile

Delaney, M.B. Journal of Emergency Nursing | Published online: 4 April 2017

A colour-enhanced scanning electron micrograph image showing a cluster of Clostridium difficile on a surface.

Image source: Annie Cavanagh – Wellcome Images // CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Problem: Albert Einstein defines insanity as doing the same thing over again but expecting different results. Although the United States claims to reduce antibiotic abuse, practice strict isolation, and clean meticulously, the burden of Clostridium difficile outpaces goals. Unless innovative approaches are tried, we risk culling elderly, immunosuppressed, and otherwise debilitated populations. Emergency departments are a primary access point for patients who are unable to wait for primary care. As a result, many patients with diarrhea are seen in emergency departments.

Methods: This article describes one hospital system’s quality improvement trial of disposable commode pails (DCPs) for high-acuity patients in 3 of 5 institutions. The rationale was to prevent staff from touching surfaces heavily contaminated with C difficile. Staff members were not to wash or reuse commode buckets between patients. Instead, DCPs were substituted, and only the commode chairs were wiped. For quantitative date, C difficile infections (CDIs) were compared across hospitals. Staff members were surveyed for qualitative data.

Read the full abstract here

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