St. Mark's Hospital - May 11, 2017

Clostridia difficile enteritis is a major preventable cause of hospital-acquired morbidity and mortality.

Clostridia difficile rates have been climbing in U.S. Hospitals over recent years. St. Mark’s is also facing this challenge. We identify 6-17 new c. difficile infections in our hospital monthly.

Studies show that the incidence of c. difficile nosocomial infection can be effectively reduced by:

  1. Minimizing the use of antibiotics with broader spectrum and/or longer duration than clinically indicated
    See Antibiotic Stewardship.
  2. Early & reliable diagnosis using rapid PCR techniques
    St. Mark’s uses PCR-NAAT testing.
  3. Immediate isolation of infected patients
    We are 95% reliable on audit.
  4. Strict use of gown and gloves for ALL patient contact
    Audits show we need to be more consistent.
  5. Effective notification of infected status at patient transfer
  6. Special protocol cleaning of patient rooms
    St. Mark’s employs a special cleaning protocol on patient discharge or transfer for rooms occupied by c. difficile infected patients using Viracept, an EPA-registered c. difficile sporicidal disinfectant.
  7. Testing the efficacy of room cleaning process using ATP detection methods
    St. Mark’s uses ATP detection to verify room cleaning. The lowest levels are found immediately after room cleaning, but the levels rise the longer a room is not in use, suggesting that staff may be touching surfaces in previously cleaned rooms. We are focusing particular attention to ATP bioburden levels on our operating room surfaces, and on assuring appropriate regular cleaning of reuse items such as straps, scarves, headlamps and magnifiers.
  8. Ultraviolet light disinfection (Xenex technology)
    St. Mark’s uses the Xenex robot for pulsed xenon full-spectrum UV light disinfection ( at patient discharge or transfer from 3 West and uses this technology for after-hour disinfection of all operating rooms five nights a week.

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