Inadequate Cleaning Can Spread C. diff
What is the best cleaning procedure and product to use when cleaning C. diff patient’s room?
The control of Clostridium difficile (C. diff) within an isolated patient’s room is essential for current and future patients. It’s the out of control nature of watery diarrhea that allows C. diff to spread so fast in a hospital. Although a small number of patients come into the hospital with C. diff spores in their bodies, many more ingest the germ through oral-fecal contamination, meaning traces of one patient’s feces enter another patient’s mouth.
How could such a thing happen? The only answer is inadequate cleaning. Patients pick up the C. diff spores off contaminated bedrails, IV poles, tables, and other surfaces, virtually anywhere their hands can reach. Then they touch their lips, or touch their food and swallow C.diff along with their dinner roll. Caregivers unwittingly carry C. diff spores on their hands, uniforms, and equipment from patient to patient.
Peter Eisler writes in an article titled, “One Bacteria, 30,000 Deaths” in USA TODAY, August 16, 2012, “A USA TODAY investigation shows that C. diff is far more prevalent than federal reports suggest. The bacteria is linked in hospital records to more than 30,000 deaths a year in the United States — about twice federal estimates and rivaling the 32,000 killed in traffic accidents. It strikes about a half-million Americans a year.’
“Yet despite a decade of rising C. diff rates, health care providers and the government agencies that oversee them have been slow to adopt proven strategies to reduce the infections, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths and illnesses that could have been prevented, the investigation shows.”
In my next tips, I will look at 13 different strategies for controlling C. diff in a healthcare setting.
J. Darrel Hicks, REH, CHESP, is the author of "Infection Control For Dummies" and has over 30 years of experience in the jan/san industry. Hicks has served as past president of IEHA and remains an active member of ASHES. He can be reached at through his website at www.darrelhicks.com or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.