Reducing Clostridium difficile Incidence, Colectomies, and Mortality in the Hospital Setting: A Successful Multidisciplinary Approach

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Abstract:

Background: Health care–associated Clostridium difficile infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in hospitals. In the United States, from 2000 through 2009, discharge diagnoses from hospitals in the United States that included C. difficile increased from 139,000 to 336,600, and the yearly national excess hospital cost associated with hospital-onset C. difficile is estimated to be upwards of $1.3 billion.

Methods: A hospitalwide, multidisciplinary approach was undertaken at Rhode Island Hospital (Providence), a tertiary care hospital. The hospital plan entailed six interventions: (1) develop a C. difficile hospital infection control plan based on a risk assessment; (2) monitor hospitalwide morbidity and mortality associated with C. difficile infection; (3) improve sensitivity of C. difficile toxin detection in stool specimens using a polymerase chain reaction–based nucleic acid amplification assay; (4) enhance environmental cleaning of patient rooms and equipment; (5) develop a C. difficile infection treatment plan; and (6) conduct other interventions. The incidence of health care–associated C. difficile infection was assessed from January 2006 through the third quarter of 2012; the number of colectomies and mortality associated with C. difficile infection were determined from January 2005 through the third quarter of 2012.

Results: The incidence of health care–associated C. difficile infection decreased from a peak of 12.2/1,000 discharges during the second quarter of 2006 to 3.6/1,000 discharges during the third quarter of 2012. The yearly mortality in patients with health care–associated C. difficile infection was reduced from a peak of 52 in 2006 to 19 in 2011, with 13 such cases in the first three quarters of 2012.

Conclusions: A hospitalwide multidisciplinary approach can reduce health care–associated C. difficile infection morbidity and mortality.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2013

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  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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