Battling C. diff- Isolation on the fly by Brent Nibarger
One of the most common, as well as most deadly, bacteria that spreads throughout hospitals is Clostridium Difficile (C. diff). As most medical professionals know, this bacterium can be effectively managed by using the proper protocols of correct hand washing, use of gloves, and antibiotics. Yet even with proper training, these protocols leave room for human error.
C. diff Explained
Clostridium difficile is a highly infectious bacterium that hospitals fight on a regular basis. C. diff is different from other common bacterium because it lives inside of a spore. This spore is much tougher to get rid of and tends stay around much longer than the average bacteria. C. diff attacks the floral portion of the digestive system. It effects long-term ingestion and tends to cause digestive tract infections.
Treatment and Management
C. diff is challenging to manage because it is highly contagious and difficult to kill. C. diff outbreaks can put an entire unit at risk. If protocols are not followed, health care workers can acquire the infection and spread it throughout the floor.
Due to its nasty habit of migrating from room to room, hospitals manage C. diff by attempting to contain the bacteria in the infected patient’s room. Some hospitals have a designated room that the infected patient is moved to, but most hospitals adopt isolation protocol in the patient’s room. When the isolation protocol is initiated, health care workers and visitors are required to suit up in protective apparel – i.e., gown, mask, gloves, etc. Signage will be hung outside the room to make the rest of the hospital aware of the isolation.
Isolation protocols also require different rules for hand hygiene. Unlike other types of bacterium, C. diff is not killed by alcohol based hand sanitizers. When a person enters the infected patient’s room, they must sanitize their hands with an alcohol-based sanitizer before putting on gloves. Upon exiting the room, they must wash their hands with soap and water for 30 seconds in order to achieve the effective kill rate needed for the spores.
These infection conditions become part of the quality reporting process that hospitals must complete and release. C. diff has its own category on these quality reports, and a low score can impact the hospital’s financial reimbursement.
C. diff is transferred when people don’t follow the correct protocols. This carelessness, or lack of awareness, can quickly affect other patients.
Hospitals spend a lot of money, time, and resources chasing many moving targets without chasing the root cause of infections. If a hospital does not effectively manage hand hygiene compliance, any attempts to manage C. diff tend to be unsuccessful.
A New Kind of Solution
BioVigil’s hand hygiene compliance system provides hospitals with a new and powerful tool to address C. diff management and isolation efforts. The system works by placing sensors in a patients’ room and requires hospital staff to wear badges that track and remind the user of their actual hand hygiene compliance.
While other companies have similar hand hygiene systems , BioVigil is the only hand hygiene compliance system offering the ability to change the system compliance rules on a specified patient room . This feature (when enabled) sends a unique signal to the health care workers’ badge, notifying them that they need to follow isolation hand hygiene protocol (namely washing with soap and water upon exit) . If a health care professional exits an isolation room without correctly, there is no alert. If hand washing was not performed properly an alert will sound until they visit a designated hand washing station and fulfill the proper hygiene requirements.
This has dramatically helped BioVigil’s clients tackle the transmission challenges associated with C. diff.
BioVigil is deeply committed to improving the health and safety of patients (as well health care workers) by solving long-standing hand hygiene compliance issues. Most of the system’s attributes have come about from listening closely to the unmet needs and workflow requirements of our clients. One of these capabilities was having the ability to know the exact hand washing exit behaviors of users. This empowers users in all new ways and allows a hospital to be fully accountable to the patient and families being served while also meeting and exceeding new Joint Commission quality standards.
Partner with Biovigil in the fight against C. diff. and let’s knock this thing out.