Even though C. diff can cause problems in healthy people, it most commonly affects patients in hospitals or long-term care facilities. Most of these patients have conditions that require long-term treatment with antibiotics – antibiotics likely to kill off other intestinal bacteria that keeps C. diff in check. Every year hundreds of thousands of Americans seeking relief from an illness or injury are exposed to a healthcare-associated infection (HAI).
While over the past few years our healthcare system has seen progress in minimizing harm from HAIs, since 2000 Clostridium difficile infections (CDIs) have been increasing in the United States.
According to a study in the April issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, despite having policies in place to prevent infections, staff at outpatient care facilities fail to follow recommendations for hand hygiene 37 percent of the time.
“Researchers conducted a cross-sectional study of 15 geographically-dispersed outpatient facilities in which medical students assessed infection prevention policies and practices during the summer of 2014. Medical student interviews with outpatient facility staff indicated that 93 percent of recommended policies were in place across the 15 facilities. However, when the students observed behaviors, they noted only 63 percent compliance with recommended hand hygiene practices…in 37 percent of hand hygiene observations, no hand hygiene was performed.” – Science Newsline Medicine
These findings clearly indicate the continued necessity for quality improvement initiatives in not only outpatient facilities but in all situations where the risks of infection are high.
Something as simple as good hand hygiene can go a long way to prevent infection.
On May 5, 2016, World Hand Hygiene Day, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is launching a new hand hygiene campaign called “Clean Hands Count.”
The campaign, designed for healthcare providers, patients, and their loved ones aims to address the myths and misperceptions of hand hygiene practice, improve adherence to recommendations, and empower patients to play a role in prevention by reminding others about the importance of clean hands.
We at the Peggy Lillis Foundation know how important handwashing is to the fight against C. diff and other infectious diseases. To learn more, please join us on May 5th from 2-3 p.m. ET as the CDC hosts a special Twitter Chat on hand hygiene. We will be using the hashtag #CleanHandsCount and posting from our Twitter handle, @PeggyFund, as well as the CDC’s handles @CDCgov and @CDC_NCEZID.